Updated: Jan 7, 2020
I've often found that images speak louder than words.
Enter the Customer Relationship Pyramid.
The Customer Relationship Pyramid is an image I've been using recently to illustrate how the Communication Code works.
I see it like this: In conversations with your customers, your goal is to move them up the pyramid and turn them into fans.
At the base of the pyramid is trust.
Your customers' trust is the foundation of everything.
Think about it. If your customers don't trust you, why would they want to engage with you?
That's why it's critical that you consider whether the words you're using with customers are building trust or eroding it.
You can build your customers' trust through validation.
Validation is all about making your customers feel heard.
Everyone wants to feel heard and understood, right? When we find someone who connects with our struggles (or triumphs), we feel cared for and supported. We begin to see that person as an ally, and a level of trust forms.
On the flip side, when we don’t feel heard, we have a hard time moving on in a conversation or being emotionally receptive to a solution from that person.
Validation is the first step of the Communication Code, and it’s a non-negotiable.
If you want to build instant trust and rapport with your customers and have them be receptive to what you’re saying, you need to start by validating them.
The next rung on the Customer Relationship Pyramid is confidence.
Have you ever gotten that one person on the phone who said, “I want you to know that I’m going to help you with this”?
How did that make you feel? You probably experienced a sigh of relief or felt unburdened, right?
Planting seeds of happiness – the second step of the Communication Code – builds customers’ confidence in your abilities.
Planting happiness seeds is the equivalent of someone saying to you, “I’ve got you” or “I’ve got this.” Really, it’s no more than four to nine words that spoken at the right time plant a seed of a positive outcome. It reassures your customers you’re doing everything in your power to resolve their concerns.
The third and final step of the Communication Code – saying what you can do rather than what you can’t do – INCREASES your customers' confidence in you.
The number one mistake I hear customer service reps make is say what they can’t do.
Consider how you feel when you ask someone for help or advice and that person’s response is, “No,” or “I can’t do that."
It feels like a punch in the gut, right?
When your only response to customers is “no,” and you don’t offer a solution or something to put them on the path to a positive outcome, you give them that punch-in-the-gut feeling.
Even if the solution is not the exact one the person is looking for, there’s always something you CAN do.
Which leads me to the next rung on the pyramid – connection.
Even if your solution is not the exact one your customer is looking for, demonstrating your willingness to find an alternative solution can help you create a positive connection with that person.
Trust + confidence = connection.
When your customers truly believe you are on their side and you can deliver, you create connections.
This in turn, makes your customers happy – the fourth rung on the pyramid.
Look at it this way: When you create connections with your customers, they feel like it’s a pleasure doing business with you. They associate feelings of happiness with your company.
(Sidenote: When customers get off the phone feeling happier than they were, their happiness is what inspires them to write positive reviews or make referrals).
Customers' happiness is also what turns them into fans – the top rung of the pyramid.
When every interaction people have with your company makes them happy, there's your fan factor.
Communication is an area of business where I know we can create incredibly happy customers and incredibly happy team members.
Start building your customer relationship pyramid one word at a time. Let me know what differences you see!
Do you have your own strategy for turning customers into raving fans? What is it? I'd love to hear from you!