5 behaviours every sales contact centre can improve

May 2019

Let’s face it, sales has become a dirty word lately. Concerns about unethical selling driven by sales incentives have eroded customers’ trust. This trust deficit won’t be fixed overnight, but GRIST has identified five simple behaviours that can begin rebuilding trust immediately.

The magic of these five small behaviours is that they’re easy to explain, learn, observe and measure. They are predictive of a better customer experience and increased levels of trust. Instead of asking contact centre agents to ‘build rapport’, and ‘engage the customer’, which can be interpreted subjectively, you can break down these abstract goals into micro-behaviours that are easy to understand and do.

Checking the customer understands what you’re going to do to solve their problem, and then empathising or showing enthusiasm about what the customer is telling you (depending on whether it’s bad or good news) are examples of micro-behaviours that are proven to build rapport. They reassure the customer that they are in good hands and that you have their best interests at heart.

So what are the five key behaviours that help you build trust with your customers?

Sounds simple, right? Turns out it’s not always that easy to get a large group of agents to consistently demonstrate these micro-behaviours. In GRIST’s annual survey of Australia’s Best Sales Contact Centres, we made over 1000 inbound sales calls to 75 of Australia’s largest contact centres and found that these behaviours are only demonstrated on 20% of calls. As shown on the following graph even the top 3 contact centres were only able to demonstrate these behaviours on 50% of calls.

So how do you demonstrate these behaviours?


1. Confirm assistance
This is your chance to make a great impression in the first 10 seconds of the call by reassuring the customer that you can help them. Saying something as simple as ‘I can definitely help you with that’ gives the customer a sense of relief and comfort.

2. Empathise/enthuse with the customer’s situation
This micro-behaviour is about ‘being human’ and can differentiate us from the bots out there. When a customer tells you something personal, give them a genuine human response, whether that is empathy for bad news, or enthusiasm for good news.

3. Set the agenda
This simple action reassures the customer that you’ve understood their needs and builds your credibility. Talk the customer through the key steps you plan to take to resolve their enquiry and ask their permission to proceed. It only takes a few seconds and ensures the customer is clear on what’s going to happen.

4. Why has the customer phoned
This is different to confirming assistance at the start of the call. This micro-behaviour is about showing real interest in your customer by uncovering the context behind the call. Asking the customer ‘how can I help you today?’ tells you what the customer wants. Asking ‘Can you help me understand why you need to get that done today?’ deepens the conversation and shows genuine care and respect for the individual customer.

5. Check customer’s understanding
Most of your customers are not experts in what you do. So, a simple way to ensure that the customer understands the information you are providing is to check in with them. Asking ‘Does the way I have explained that make sense?’ or ‘Is that ok so far?’ gives the customer time to reflect and ask clarifying questions. Doing this twice in a call makes it feel more conversational.

Now that you understand the behaviours, listen to two different sales calls and see if you can spot the difference. Which one inspires more trust?

For more information on how GRIST can help identify the key behaviours to build success in your business, get in touch.
To hear more insights from our research, watch the recording of our webinar, Australia’s best sales contact centres of 2019.

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