Customers develop relationships with company employees they interact with regularly. This happens naturally over time and so, when a customer is passed off to a new employee for any reason, it can be stressful for the customer. Not everyone loves change and this new relationship can break one of the most important connections the customer had with a company. It has to be managed delicately, which is why you may be asked interview questions that prove you have an understanding of the importance of this bond.
Behavioral Interview Question: Tell me about a time you have adopted a customer from one of your colleagues. What steps did you take to establish a relationship with them? What did you do to gain their trust?
Interestingly, the most important part of this answer is simply having an answer. Lots of applicants will simply shrug, laugh, and maybe say something awkward like “I make jokes with them sometimes.” Others will fall into the trap of talking about a customer they liked, not necessarily one that they had to handle delicately because of a great relationship with the previous employee.
Also, it is better to talk about customers that had good relationships with the previous employee rather than those passed off to you because the customer was upset. That’ll help you avoid accidentally saying anything negative about another staff member.
“Well, long before I called the customer, I first made sure I had read every note about them. I know that no customer wants to have to recap their history with the company, and we have all of that data on hand so it helps to be prepared and show the customer that they’re not reinventing the wheel just because a new person has taken over the account.
Then I like to talk to the customer like we’re polite friends. I ask them about their day, then help them with a project, then close with something about the weather, or about their plans for the weekend. When a customer has developed a great rapport with an employee, chances are they have developed a personal connection as well, so adding in my own personal connection makes the process easier.
In addition, I simply try to make sure I am as knowledgeable a possible, because above all else I know the customer is looking for an employee that’s an expert, and as good at their job as the previous staff member they worked with. If I can excel while helping them with their needs, I know that trust will develop.”