Active Listening – Your Key to Customer Service Success

Active Listening - Your Key to Customer Service Success

Active Listening – Your Key to Customer Service Success

Customer service success should be a primary goal for everyone in an organization. Since there is no organization without satisfied customers, making sure that they are understood and served effectively should be a strategic initiative. That means taking service down to a basic level with each encounter when someone comes into or contacts the organization. An easy way to help accomplish this is by training all employees to use of active listening during face-to-face and telephone interactions with customers.

Like other customer service skills, active listening is a learned process. Many people think that because they receive a message through hearing, that they are listening. This is far from true. Hearing is a simple physiological process of gathering sounds through the ear and transmitting them to the brain for analysis. Receiving sounds or messages is just the first step in active listening. Following the receipt of sounds or messages, the brain decides what they mean and what type of response (or inaction) is required.

Active listening is actually one of the most important skills that customer service representatives have for delivering stellar customer service. Even so, it is a topic on which many organizations fail to train employees. Many managers and employees assume that they know how to effectively listen. In reality, only through understanding the active listening process and practicing the skill can customer service representatives improve.

The following are three simple active listening steps that you take to help achieve customer service success.

1. Focus attention on the customer. Stop whatever you are doing that does not relate to serving the customer with you or on the other end of the phone call. This means putting down any technology you are using, stop typing on your computer, putting aside reading material, and really focusing on the customer and what he or she is saying.

2. Display a congenial demeanor. Simply put, this means smiling (even on the phone, since the smile comes through in your tone), looking at the customer as you speak to one another, nodding appropriately, using open physical posture and gestures appropriately and letting them know that you are really listening to what they are saying.

3. Repeat back what you understood them to say. This simple active listening technique involves restating what your customer said in your own words. For example, if a customer said, “I am really upset because I’ve called twice before about this  problem and I still have not received the information I was promised.” In response, you should apologize and emphasize, then repeat what you believe the issue to be before proceeding. For example, “I apologize that you have to keep following up on this issue. I know that must be very frustrating and is a waste of your time. If I understand correctly, you called two of our representatives in the past and were promised ____, but have yet to receive it? Is that correct?” Once they verify, state that you are going to take action to help resolve the issue for them. By taking this approach, you acknowledge and empathize with your customers. You also take responsibility for the situation and promise to correct it.

Active listening is not difficult, but it does take an effort to learn and practice in order to perfect. While you may not get it right every time, you should work to incorporate it as a basic skill in order to achieve customer service success.

For additional ideas on how to improve your active listening skills and better serve your customers, search the topic on this blog. Also, check out Customer Service Skills for Success and How to Be a Great Call Center Representative.

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.

Make Money Writing Books: Proven Profit Making Strategies for Authors by Robert W. Lucas at

The key to successfully making money as an author and/or self-publisher is to brand yourself and your company and to make yourself and your book(s) a household name. Part of this is face-to-face interaction with people at trade shows, library events, book readings, book store signings, blogging or guest blogging on a topic related to their book(s). Another strategy involves writing articles and other materials that show up online and are found when people search for a given topic related to a topic about which the author has written.

If you need help building an author platform, branding yourself and your book(s) or generating recognition for what you do, Make Money Writing Books will help. Bob’s popular book addresses a multitude of ideas and strategies that you can use to help sell more books and create residual and passive income streams. The tips outlined in the book are focused to help authors but apply to virtually any professional trying to increase personal and product recognition and visibility.

Thanks for visiting our website!  If you need or want a copy of this content - please contact the author to request purchasing it. Thank you!