Effective Listening Tips for Customer Service Representatives

Effective Listening Tips for Customer Service Representatives

Active listening is a skill that has to be learned and developed over time. As a customer service representative, you must continually practice your listening skills in order to deliver good customer service. Many people believe they are doing so, when in fact, they are only hearing the words (which is a passive physiological process in the body). To deliver excellent customer service, you must actively listen to get what customers are actually saying verbally and nonverbally.

Effective Listening Tips for Customer Service Representatives

Here are four tips for actively listening to your customers that can enhance the quality of service that you deliver.

  1. Stop doing other tasks and focus on what your customers are saying in order to increase your listening efficiency. Ask clarifying questions where appropriate to ensure that you ensure that you received the message they intended.
  2. Take time to slow down and actively listen to customers in order to make them feel important and allow you to better identify and meet their needs. This is important because many people spend time thinking about what they will say next rather than listening to what is being said. If you do this, your customer-provider relationship could suffer.
  3. Do your best to listen well so that you can get at the customer’s meaning or need. Don’t rush a customer who seems to be processing information and forming opinions or making a decision. This is especially important after you have presented product information and have asked for a buying decision. Answer questions, provide additional information requested but don’t push. Doing so could frustrate, anger, and ultimately alienate the customer. You could end up with a complaint or lost customer.
  4. In dealings with customers, try to avoid subjective opinions or judgments. If you have a preconceived idea about customers, their concerns or questions, the environment, or anything related to the customers, you could mishandle the situation. Listen openly and avoid making assumptions. Allow customers to describe their needs, wants, or concerns in their own words, and then analyze them fairly before taking appropriate action.

For additional suggestions and strategies for delivering exceptions customer service, get a copy of the book Customer Service: Skills for Success.

About Robert C. Lucas

Bob Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author who has written thirty-seven books on topics such as, writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning, and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Bob retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

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Customer Service Strategies That Aid Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Customer Service Strategies That Aid Customer Satisfaction and Retention

Customer Service Strategies That Aid Customer Satisfaction and Retention

It seems like many organizations are spending a lot of time, effort and money try to impress or “wow” customers, rather than focusing on solid strategies for simply giving them what they want and expect. Unfortunately, a lot of people I know tell me that they are not impressed with all the razzle-dazzle of the latest technology and scripted responses used by customer service representatives. Instead, they just want service providers who are knowledgeable, empowered to act, can communicate effectively and make appropriate decisions in a service situation, especially if service has already broken down.

The following strategies can help accomplish customer satisfaction and potentially lead to more loyal customers.

Create an effective communication environment. One trend that seems to be gaining ground with a lot of companies is that they are actively trying to improve the systems that collect information from customers and communicate with them. Not only must service representatives communicate; they must also actively listen to what the customer is saying and address concerns, needs, and expectations promptly and professionally. Part of this communication is the integration of online and mobile technology processes that give customers a variety of options to access information and service twenty-four hours a day, all year long (24/7/365). All of this is in response to the recognition that there has to be a better response to life balance issues of customers who are demanding that someone be “on-call” to address their needs when they want service.

Provide enhanced service training. Concerned organizations are also working harder to train their employees to really listen to customers and effectively analyze what they are saying. Whether customers communicate in person, over the telephone or via one of the numerous technology channels, successful organizations are striving to better understand and address customer needs in a timely and professional manner.

Using technology that makes sense. In past decades, the use of computers has been integrated into nearly every aspect of business and service delivery. More recently, mobile technology and person data delivery systems have created a more tech-savvy customer base which assumes that service mechanisms, to which they have access and use daily, will be integrated into the service solution equation. Intuitive approaches, apps, and other technology-based mechanisms are being designed and used by many of the top-rated organizations in the 21st Century.

The key to effectively creating and supporting a truly service-oriented customer-centric environment in today’s world is to step back and analyze what the actual needs of customers are and then set out to find ways to address them. This gets back to the first point…actively listening to your customers.

For additional information, ideas, strategies on how to build stronger relationships with customers in order to help achieve customer satisfaction and build customer relationships, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success.


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