Improving Customer Service With Active Listening Skills
Delivering excellent customer service to your internal and external customers requires strong interpersonal communication skills, especially in the area of listening.
Listening effectively is the primary means that many customer service representatives use during communication to determine the needs of their customers. Many times, these needs are not communicated to you directly but through inferences, indirect comments, or nonverbal signals. A skilled listener will pick up on a customer’s words and these cues or nuances and, then conduct follow-up questioning or probe deeper to determine the real need.
Most employees take listening skills for granted in a customer service environment. They incorrectly assume that anyone can listen effectively. Unfortunately, this is untrue. This is why many employees who deal with customers are complacent about listening and only go through the motions of listening.
True listening is an active learned process, as opposed to hearing, which is the physical action of gathering sound waves through the ear canal. When you listen actively, you go through a process consisting of various phases …. hearing or receiving the message, attending, comprehending or assigning meaning, and responding.
For information and strategies for developing and using effective listening skills and what you can do to more effectively interact with your customers, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success.