Creating rapport

Posted on 4 August, 2020 by Paul Walden

There are a few things to keep in mind when building your reputation as a passionate and caring service supplier. Perhaps the most important one is to build your integrity from the bottom and up. That is, looking closely at what actually drives your employees to do their job.

But let’s start by looking at what a brand persona is and how your customers come to know it.

When we say that we “know someone”, we’re really saying that we have good reason to expect that this someone will exhibit certain attitudes and behaviours. And if those attitudes and behaviours are positive, we will gradually develop trust.

But what’s to say that those attitudes and behaviours won’t be gone tomorrow? Well, we know that they didn’t accidentally hit this someone in the head yesterday. We know that they come from deep within. That we’re talking about the very forces that get a person out of bed each morning. Such entrenched motivations don’t go up in smoke overnight.

This is true for our relationships to other people, and it’s true for our relationships to strong brands. Aside from more tangible aspects such as product quality and price, you know that Mercedes won’t start talking like IKEA or that Über won’t go on a date with Sofitel. They have well-defined brand personas that behave in predictable ways.

Being consistent is key. If a brand breaks character, you will shatter the illusion that it represents one solid entity. But you can achieve consistency in several ways. You can hire people who truly share your founding beliefs. Or you can hire people and then force them to adhere to certain policies during work hours.

You’ve probably already experienced the difference between these two approaches.

Walk into an Apple concept store, and you will expect to be served by a devout Apple disciple. They take a deep personal interest in the products, and you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they have a little shrine for Steve Jobs at home, complete with the full range of first-generation iPods from 2001. You can develop a deep relationship with such a brand representative. There is plenty of personality to explore. You also know that they will always remain Apple. They won’t suddenly morph into Orange, Pineapple or Breadfruit. So, Apple scores high for consistency as well as integrity.

Walk into a McDonald’s restaurant, by contrast, and the appeal is almost exclusively about consistency. You won’t expect the staff to personally share the values of Ray Kroc (the fellow who made Macca’s take off – check out the awesome Michael Keaton movie for more). In fact, you have every reason to believe that, personally, they couldn’t care less about burgers and chips. You won’t develop any deep relationship with the brand through them. But that’s ok, because you know that they’ll be fired in two seconds flat if they don’t hand over your Big Mac with a trademark smile. You also know exactly what the Big Mac will taste like. McDonald’s are crushing the competition with the thinnest veneer of integrity and a massive helping of consistency.

Moral of this little piece: if you want to be known for personal and caring service, make it clear to people that you have picked the Apple approach. Your staff actually believe in what they do. They are personally motivated.

For an example of how to do this, check out the TV commercial for Southern Phone’s award-winning customer service.