Are You a Good Listener? Here’s How to Tell

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Most people understand that in order to provide good customer service we must use one of our least appreciated soft skills – listening. Without being a good listener how can you ever “hear” your customer’s concerns, wants, needs or desires? You lose the opportunity to identify the best way(s) to service them. Are You a Good Listener

I bet you’re a pretty good listener, right?

But most people who think they are good listeners underperform. There is some research that suggests they do so by as much as 60%. This overconfidence impedes their success as it prevents them from truly understanding the motivation of the other side.

So why do most underperform? Because most fail to recognize that there are different levels of listening.

According to the latest post from the Black Swan Group’s blog, here are the 5 levels of listening.

Listening For The Gist

The first level is intermittent listening; that is to say, listening long enough to get the gist of what the other side is saying before we refocus on our internal voice which is formulating a reaction from our worldview.

Listening To Rebut

At the next level, we listen to rebut. This is where we listen long enough to understand the incoming message until it hits a trigger. The trigger is something in the statement or phrase with which we can argue or rebut.

Listening for Logic

At the third level, using inference, we listen for the internal logic of what is being said. If this is their worldview, their conclusion or their judgment, why does it make sense to them?

Listening for Emotion

At the fourth level, we listen for any emotions and or identity issues that may be driving their argument. These emotions or issues may or may not make sense to us but at this level, we recognize their significance to the other side as they talk about what is important to them.

Listening for Their Point of View

One level beyond that is where we listen to what their argument, phrase, or statement says about who they are in the world. What does it symbolize or represent to them?  This is where we filter their emotion and logic through a prism of empathy. It is where we should be as negotiators – and customer service providers – getting beyond the cursory level of understanding to a deeper appreciation of their worldview.

We try so hard to go above and beyond to service our customers. We formulate one strategy after another to identify the best methods and actions to follow.

We follow numerous metrics; Average Handling Time (AHT), First Call Resolution (FCR), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), Net Promoter Score (NPS), Satisfaction & Loyalty Tracking (SALT) plus a host of others to gauge our success and customer satisfaction.

This all costs money – a lot of it.

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