How to Train Your Employees to be Great at Relationship Building

IStock 1194783078, The DiJulius GroupThere is a seismic shift happening today making building relationships an absolutely essential facet of your customer service training.

Technology is changing the world, yet not always for the better. For all the benefits it is bringing to businesses, it is coming at a significant cost. The cost is weaker human relationships, yet strong ones are vital to customer experiences, employee experiences, and happiness. Focusing strictly on a digital experience will eliminate customer loyalty and emotional connection to a brand, which is exactly why the Relationship Economy is emerging.

Business leaders around the world have to take advantage of technological advancements while balancing the human experience that people want, even crave, and absolutely need. This experience is known as rapport. Rapport has been defined as everything from harmonious connection with others to the shared ability to communicate well, to people feeling mutual fondness and respect. It is simply not possible via 100% technology-based interactions with digital content.

*Related – How Relationships are the Most Important Factor in your Personal and Professional Success


No one is born with a rapport-building gene. And not everyone is inclined to be outgoing or to strike up a conversation with people they don’t know. The environment you grow up in plays a big part in how you interact with others. If you had extremely outgoing parents, chances are you will grow up to behave similarly. However, even if you were not exposed to an outgoing environment in your early years, this skill set can certainly be developed and mastered and won’t take hours of study. There are certain sets of characteristics you need to work on in order to become a relationship builder. You must be:

  • Authentic
  • Obsessively curious
  • A great listener
  • Incredibly empathetic
  • And…you must love people


People have great BS detectors. Although everyone has their own relationship style, our interest in others and our desire to make a connection must be authentic. If you are asking questions merely for appearances, just to make a sale, or to turn the conversation back to yourself, people will see through you. Not being authentic will earn you a poor reputation. You are much better served simply coming out and asking for what you want; people will respect you more. Instead of trying to manipulate people into buying products or services, you must show them you care by attempting to establish a genuinely meaningful relationship with each one. You need to demonstrate that you are truly interested in others and that you realize they are human beings with lives, not just customers to whom you are trying to sell.

*Related – Stop Networking and Start Building Social Capital 


Those who are the strongest at effective relationships are extremely curious and tend to have superior interpersonal skills. They are eager to learn about others and their experiences and, in particular, have honed their questioning skills. They are curious not only about subjects that interest them but also about unfamiliar subjects. Like investigative reporters, they want to learn as much as possible about other people’s lives and passions. They truly enjoy learning and exploring what makes us human beings tick.

*Related – Do You Have A Relationship Building Strategy?


As the naturally charismatic people among us know, there is a lot more to being a good listener than simply letting the other person talk. You need to be attentive, patient, make good eye contact, and–this is a big one–not interrupt. Strengthen your reflective listening skills by truly focusing on what the other person is saying rather than staying in your own head, formulating responses while they are still talking. This is one of the most critical people skills of all and should be considered an essential part of your learning journey. Once the floor is yours, there will be plenty of opportunities to ask those probing questions. Finally, before responding, pause to process what you’ve heard.


Is empathy a superpower? One of our strongest human talents is the ability to empathize with another person’s situation. Seeing and understanding someone’s experience from their perspective, metaphorically walking in their shoes, is key. It goes beyond simply having a positive attitude, and even if it doesn’t come naturally, it is a skill that can be strengthened with practice. This ability will elevate your personal relationships as well as your economic relationships—your business with people—and is particularly helpful when interacting with the difficult people among us.

*Related – The #1 way to Teach your Employees to have incredible Customer Empathy


Human beings are incredible. No two people are alike. No one is perfect. Everyone is flawed, yet everyone has unlimited potential. Everyone has a story about their life journey—what they have overcome, their accomplishments, their incredible talents, fears, regrets, and dreams. Everyone carries relationship residue from their past, from successful relationships and otherwise. Each human being has an incredible story inside and the fun is discovering those stories. When you truly serve people, your goal in relationship management is not to make money or to get them to do what you want, but to take care of their needs and desires.


It is about building the idea of mutual trust and genuine personal connections into your customer service culture. The natural result, every time is a reciprocal relationship creating benefits in which everyone’s needs are met.

“Our careers, our companies, our relationships, and indeed our very lives succeed or fail, gradually, then suddenly, one conversation at a time.”

—Susan Scott


*Register for our New Customer Experience Executive Academy Class starting this fall


Unnamed 1, The DiJulius GroupWe are so thrilled to announce that Jared Green will be speaking at this year’s Customer Service Revolution. A former NFL player, today Jared is a speaker, author, and executive coach, who is most known for bridging the gap between human engagement and organizational development through his company, Engage 365. Jared focuses primarily on the areas that bring fulfillment to people’s lives (even at work) like values, purpose, culture, and innovation.

Jared’s presentation is titled The Engage Equation. Every organization has pockets of space between hierarchical levels that can often create ambiguity, communication breakdowns, or even division (us vs. them mentality). For startups and small businesses, the space is naturally smaller but as demand increases, the addition of more people, processes, and tools turn organisms into organizations. For historically larger organizations the vertical and horizontal space is not just natural, it’s accepted and expected. So much so that cross-departmental collaboration or communication can feel offensive. At this point, a single department can function as a business in itself. Companies that operate like this are effective, powerful, and seem larger than life to new hires and nonleaders. So how do we breathe life back into these organizations and engage all of this space? And why should we?

EPISODE 087 of the CSRevolution Podcast:

MASTERING EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT with Jared Green. As the master of employee experience, Jared works with companies like Chick-fil-A to help them improve their human engagement and, therefore, create an engaging workforce. In this episode, we discuss how he does this. Tune in to learn how to master employee engagement in your organization.


Unnamed, The DiJulius GroupThe DiJulius Group is proud to announce that Jess Pischel, MBA, has been promoted to Senior Customer Experience Consultant.

In her five years with The DiJulius Group Jess has advised numerous Fortune 500 companies, helping them achieve world-class status. Her experience, education, and contributions to customer experience research for The DiJulius Group have been instrumental in the company’s continued growth.

In addition to her consulting role, Jess will continue to serve as Dean of the Customer Experience Executive Academy and facilitate classes for CX Coaching Global as well.



“As a leader, your goal should be that every long-term employee considers their decision

to join this company as one of the best decisions of their life.”


Unnamed 1 1, The DiJulius Group

Check out the full details about each speaker and the Customer Service Revolution here.
Register now for the 2022 Customer Service Revolution!

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.