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Mirroring Technique: The Key to Building Customer Connection

The Ecommerce Psychology Series

For your brand to remain competitive, it’s no longer enough to offer a great product or service — you also need to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

Businesses that meaningfully engage with leads and customers stand out and thrive. According to PWC, a third of consumers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience. A recent 15gifts’ survey (full report coming soon) of 1000 consumers showed that frustration with chatbots and online support caused 20% of consumers to abandon an online sale. 

Enter the mirroring technique, a psychological strategy that enables you to have better interactions both in person and online. By reflecting customers’ behaviours, preferences and emotions — even across your digital communications — you can forge deeper connections and drive engagement, transforming casual browsers into loyal advocates.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how to use the mirroring technique in a digital business, along with advice and examples of the mirroring technique in practice.


Understanding the Mirroring Technique

The mirroring technique, rooted in psychology, is a method where a person imitates the gestures, speech patterns or attitudes of another. In traditional face-to-face communications, mirroring can include gestures like nodding, mimicking posture or showing the same energy levels.

This behaviour often happens subconsciously when we feel comfortable and safe around others, helping people feel more connected and understood by mimicking their non-verbal cues. 

Mirroring can also be used intentionally. For example, the American Psychological Association defines the mirror technique as “the conscious use of active listening by the therapist in psychotherapy, accompanied by reflection of the client’s affect and body language in order to stimulate a sense of empathy and to further the development of the therapeutic alliance.”

Experts recognise mirroring as a powerful tool for building rapport and fostering positive interactions, which makes it a popular sales technique for connecting with potential customers.

By adapting mirroring for online sales, companies can create digital interactions that feel personal and responsive, just like a face-to-face conversation, nurturing deeper connections between your brand and your customers.


Benefits of Digital Mirroring

We’ve touched on some of the big-picture benefits of the mirroring technique, but how does that translate into online sales? Here are three of the biggest advantages of using digital mirroring.

Mirroring is highly effective because we tend to trust individuals who resemble us. Digital mirroring builds trust by adjusting messaging tone and content to resonate with the customer, fostering familiarity and connection. This rapport can make customers feel more at ease with your brand, builds relationships and can result in positive referrals, enhancing the overall customer experience.

Empathy is a key sales skill for building strong customer relationships. Prospects can often tell when a salesperson is genuinely interested in finding the best possible solution for them, rather than simply trying to close the sale.

Digital mirroring plays a crucial role here by enabling more empathetic interactions. When a business adjusts its communication to fit the customer’s current mood and needs — gauged through interactions and feedback — customers are more likely to feel that the brand genuinely cares about them. This alignment can make buyers more open to suggestions and recommendations. 

People buy from people they like. Every person who interacts with your business is an individual, with their own unique interests and preferences. By personalising your communication, you can resonate more deeply with your audience. Delivering authentic communication fosters stronger bonds, making it easier to discover and address concerns, and ultimately seal the deal.


Implementing Mirroring in Digital Communications 

Mirroring someone in person is pretty straightforward, but when it comes to online communication, it’s a whole different ball game. Take chatbots, for instance; they bring numerous benefits to the table. They can engage in human-like conversations, provide round-the-clock support, and offer immediate help. Despite this, opinions on chatbots vary. Their effectiveness largely hinges on their ability to craft experiences that truly resonate with individuals. So how do you do this in the digital realm?

Effective communication is not just about the words we use; it’s also about the manner in which we convey them. When a customer adopts a formal or informal demeanour, it’s vital to mirror their tone in your replies. Assess their pace too – are they firing off quick queries or seeking more detailed insights? Whether discussing intricate tech details or engaging in casual product chat, getting it right can greatly impact the interaction. This tailored approach helps foster a comfortable and relatable atmosphere, ensuring customers feel understood and at ease.

Active listening allows you to become more attuned to your prospect’s needs and desires. It’s crucial in any form of communication but can pose a challenge in digital settings. A practical way to implement this is summarising or paraphrasing what the customer or prospect has said. This reassures the customer that you’ve received and correctly understood their request, fostering stronger emotional connections and improved customer satisfaction.

Instead of relying on standard, scripted dialogue, adapt digital conversations to match your customer. This approach involves focusing on the customer’s expressed needs and concerns and crafting questions that dive deeper into those areas. For instance, if a customer expresses interest in a particular product category, your digital tools need to be able to deviate from the script and pose pertinent questions about their requirements or preferences.

To effectively communicate with customers, it’s crucial to match your language to their understanding. Balancing industry or product terms for experts, and plain language for novices is key. Assess their knowledge early by asking open questions and adjusting responses accordingly. This approach allows you to match your customer’s level of understanding. Striking this balance ensures clarity without being overwhelming or condescending.


Strategies for Effective Digital Mirroring

Mirroring is a strong technique, but only when executed correctly. Getting the most out of it requires two key strategies:

  1. Proper use of data analytics
  2. Incorporating the knowledge of human experts 

Every aspect of your digital mirroring needs to be based on your customer data, not guesswork or what your competitors are doing.

By properly utilising data analytics, businesses can gain deep insights into customer behaviours, preferences, and purchase patterns, allowing them to tailor their digital interactions in ways that resonate with individual users – from initial engagement all the way through to purchase.  This data-driven approach ensures that your digital mirroring efforts are relevant and effective.

In addition to data analytics, incorporating the knowledge and expertise of human sales experts is crucial. Pioneering the use of human experts to help train AI models, can help to ensure that your virtual assistance tools understand what makes a great salesperson. Incorporating human-in-the-loop mechanisms, allows digital interactions to capture the subtleties of sales psychology and techniques such as mirroring. 

It’s also important to remember that digital mirroring is not about mimicking or copying your customers’ actions. It’s about understanding their needs, preferences and behaviours and using that information to create personalised interactions for them. 


Implementing digital mirroring

Chen et al. (2021) presented a compelling perspective on leveraging automated conversational agents as decision support tools. They proposed that matching a chatbot’s conversation style with a customer’s shopping task can elevate engagement. This aligns with the idea of mirroring in digital interactions, emphasising how adjusting to a customer’s needs and preferences can significantly enhance their experience. For instance, a customer seeking detailed product specifications would appreciate an informative and structured conversation, while someone looking for a quick purchase might prefer a more concise interaction.

15gifts is pioneering the use of human experts to train large language models (LLMs) for effective online sales. Our approach ensures that the best human salespeople train our Generative AI models, providing insights on what a great sales interaction looks like and teaching subtle sales techniques such as mirroring.

This human-in-the-loop mechanism allows the 15gifts’ virtual sales advisor to excel at techniques such as intelligent engagement, active listening, consultative selling, objection handling, and ultimately closing sales. 

By ensuring that AI-driven interactions are aligned with the sophisticated sales techniques and psychological insights provided by human experts, businesses can achieve a higher level of service quality, leading to increased client loyalty and better overall performance in the ecommerce landscape.


Conclusion

Just as traditional mirroring can help create stronger bonds between people, digital mirroring enables online businesses to cultivate deep customer relationships online. This technique has proven its value by enhancing customer satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement through personalised and empathetic interactions.

As we look towards the future, advancements in AI are set to refine these techniques further, offering even more precise and dynamic mirroring capabilities.

For brands aiming to stay competitive and resonate deeply with their customers, digital mirroring enables you to stand out and offer a unique customer journey. It’s time to reflect on your strategies and integrate mirroring into your digital communications. The potential to transform customer interactions is immense, promising not only to meet but exceed consumers’ evolving expectations.

Looking for ways to implement digital mirroring in your sales process? 15gifts uses Sales Psychology and Generative AI to deliver a virtual sales advisor that understands and mirrors the sales techniques used by your best retail sales people. Book a demo today to see how 15gifts can help improve customer engagement, conversion rates and revenue.

Trudi Baker
Senior Marketing Manager