Good communication is said to be the secret to every successful human relationship. This principle also extends to a customer's interaction with custo
Good communication is said to be the secret to every successful human relationship. This principle also extends to a customer’s interaction with customer service or sales representatives.
What is active listening in customer service?
The basis of effective communication is active listening. In customer care, active listening entails being completely centred on the customer’s terms, comprehending what they mean, and reacting in a way that validates what they’re saying.
The more empathy you have with your customers, the more they will value their relationship with you – and your products.
Why is active listening important in customer service?
Every customer call is answered by a real person looking for help or a solution to a problem. To make the person feel genuinely heard, understood, and served, it’s important to participate in active listening. Customers enjoy their relationship with you and the products and services you provide if you have empathy for them and listen to them. People want to be heard. Customers notice, with almost half believing that businesses demonstrate empathy by providing customer service.
Here’s why active listening is one of the most important communication skills for any customer service representative.
Customers Want to Truly be Heard and Understood
It is an inherent part of our human nature to express our thoughts and feelings, regardless of gender. In reality, our brains contain a protein that aids in vocalisation. As people, we hear fewer words than we expect. Humans can consciously listen to 125 to 250 words per minute on average but can think of 1000 to 3000 words per minute on average.
So, even though actively listening may be a challenge, it’s critical to providing a great customer service experience. In fact, research finds that 60% of business problems can be attributed to poor communication. And, since phone calls are still the most common way for customers to reach customer service, mastering active listening can pay off handsomely for any business.
Customers Will Tell You What to Sell Them
If you listen to your customers, even if it’s only on social media or through simple feedback surveys, you’ll learn a lot about how they think about your product. And it’s possible that this isn’t what you think.
Start by deliberately listening to your customers if you want to build ‘raving fans.’ They’ll show you how to make an impression on them.
Many businesses (including ours) have found success by pivoting to meet consumer demands. It is obvious to everyone that the best way to develop a business is to incorporate customer reviews. Established customers will love you even more if you do this because that’s how you get raving fans. Actively listening to your customers has proven to be such an effective strategy that more and more businesses adopt it in place of older models.
Actively Listening Means Asking Follow-up Questions
One of the best ways to reassure someone you’re really listening is to ask any follow-up questions. This keeps the conversation alive!
When my husband isn’t really listening to me, I can tell right away because he’s reticent when I’m talking. This can mean he’s paying attention to what I’m saying (rarely! ), but it typically means he’s just half-listening. Ironically, it’s when he’s more articulate that I feel genuinely understood – when he asks a lot of questions, follows up on previous points, and engages in conversation.
It’s tempting to want to finish and customer call as soon as possible so you can move on to the next person or ticket in line. Customer service representatives who understand successful communication, on the other hand, understand that and customer call requires time.
Customers should not be hurried in any way. Customers may feel like they are being given the time to express their thoughts and even ask their own questions if you ask them follow-up questions.
One of the best ways to not rush a customer call is by giving the customer the option of receiving a call-back. This allows customer service reps to really take their time with calls, as they don’t have to rush through their queues. It makes customers feel as though their time is valued rather than being wasted waiting on hold.
Active Listening Fosters Understanding and Empathy
If they have an issue with a company’s product or service, most people call or email customer service. That means that, more often than not, call centre agents must maintain a high level of composure and professionalism when addressing each customer’s concerns.
In situations where customers are angry, irritated, and possibly hostile, active listening is essential. Customers feel genuinely appreciated and cared for when you ask follow-up questions, relay their condition, and empathise with their grievances.
We’ve all had the experience of being on the phone with a call centre representative who is obviously stuck on their script and doesn’t seem to care about our issues. The goal of getting real people in customer service call centres is to give customers a personal touch and connection instead of having to deal with automated messages.
Consumers are more engaged and return when they can have a genuine, honest conversation. Customers would abandon call centre tactics that lose their authenticity.
There’s a reason our mothers taught us to listen twice as much as we speak: “you have two ears and one mouth.”
Active listening is, without a doubt, the most important aspect of successful communication. When you develop and use that skill in customer service calls, you have a chance to win a raving, life-long customer.
Hiring a company that focuses on Customer Service Excellence and Learning Solutions is a great way to start. Helping your staff communicate effectively and connect with customers sits at the core of what companies like MGI Learning are all about.
Tips for Better Active Listening in Customer Service:
1 – Instead of focusing on what you’re going to say in response, concentrate on what the customer is thinking.
2 – Pay attention to the customer’s tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions (if you can see them).
3 – Don’t interrupt – no one enjoys being interrupted in the middle of a sentence.
4 – Don’t multitask when talking to a customer; give the customer your full attention and tune out distractions.
5 – Take short notes, but don’t let them keep you from listening to what the customer has to say.
6 – Echo back to the customer what they’ve said to make sure you’ve got the right details and to show you’re paying attention.
7 – When a customer is frustrated, don’t take it personally; most of the time, they want you to affirm their anger before moving on to a solution.
8 – Make sure you’re gathering the right data and comprehending the problem correctly regularly.
9 – Later, you’ll be able to do something about it. This may seem self-evident, but all the listening in the world won’t help if the problem isn’t solved.