Why can’t people who interface with customers learn how to listen and not just talk at you?

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Listening skills are critical for all people in customer interface roles. When did the last conversation you had with such a person – be it a doctor’s or dentist’s receptionist, an enquiry to a shop or business, even a query to a local government department – make you feel that that their objective was to get you off the line and to end the call asap? They seem to want to give the impression that they have far more important things to do than just to listen to you!

The problem is that they are worried that you will rabbit on and on and that they will never be able to get their message across – and not before it is time for them to finish work for the day! They are basically untrained. And that is a huge loss of opportunity for their employer to build goodwill, win customers and further orders.

Listening doesn’t take much effort but yields big rewards: it just takes a little patience and customer empathy. Smile on the call, ask questions about the caller’s problems, show an interest. If they feel that you are on their side, you’re winning for everyone. People can be trained to listen in several quite short sessions delivered over the internet. However, answering calls without using focused listening skills:-

  • Misses the real reason the caller rang you
  • Stops you from making an unhappy actual or potential client happy
  • Risks you leaving their problems unsolved and potentially losing a customer
  • And will prevent you from winning a new customer……

What a waste! Is that really what customer service people are paid to do?

Most people enjoy and want to be good at their jobs. Job satisfaction improves everybody’s life. So please train your customer interface team in listening skills?

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