If a business is to survive, they must focus on customer service. In fact, it is a key element of overall success. This is why a lot of resources are sent to the customer service department. The workforce there must be supported in becoming as efficient as possible, and they often receive extensive training on company policies and procedures, products, and more. But what many companies forget, is the importance of training their staff in the most important element of all: active listening skills. This is something Jeffrey W. Lupient aims to address.
Jeffrey W. Lupient on Active Listening Skills
Naturally, customer service agents must know everything about the company as a whole. However, if they don’t know how to listen properly, customers who contact them will leave feeling dissatisfied with their overall experience. Not everyone is born with good active listening skills, however, but it is a soft skill that can, and should, be taught.
Listening is both passive and active, but it is the latter that is so important to customer service. Through this skill, representatives can bring a customer into a true conversation. In so doing, the representative gets to truly understand what the customer’s immediate needs are at the point of contact. Additionally, it enables them to respond appropriately so that the needs of the customer are actually met. This, in turn, increases customer satisfaction levels.
Top Tips for Active Listening
To be a good active listener, you must:
- Avoid distractions. You must be fully focused on the customer and what they have to say. The customer is king in this instance, in as such that all that matters is what they want to see.
- Paraphrase what they have told you. This demonstrates that you have listened, but also gives you a chance to confirm that you truly understand what the issue at hand is. People who are emotive have a tendency to provide various details that may be insignificant, and you have to make sure that you have heard the things that actually matter.
- Ask lots of questions. This, again, shows that you are listening, but it also shows that you want to hear what your customer has to say. If you ask questions, you ensure that no element is forgotten and that the customer is completely satisfied at the end of the conversation.
- Make a proposal for a solution. Explain how you feel that the solution will benefit the problem that the customer is facing. This is where a full understanding of the company’s policies and procedures is important.
- Confirm with the customer whether the solution you have proposed is to their satisfaction.
If you follow the above five steps, you should see a tremendous increase in customer satisfaction. When unhappy customers contact you, they are among the 10% of people who make that effort. The other 90% will prefer venting to their friends. That 10% also wants to vent but, more than anything, they want a solution to their problem. Find that solution and you will have a very happy customer.