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Guest post by Monique Castillo.

Have you ever felt like you weren’t being listened to? If so, you know how frustrating it can be.

Recently my husband reordered a pair of shoes and the company sent the wrong size. I called customer service to get the right size. A lady answered and I explained our situation. She interrupted me and said she just needed our last name, and then she told me to check my email for return instructions.

I felt rushed, and I wondered how she had my email, since we never gave it to her. I asked more questions, only to be told “just check your email.” I sensed she wanted to get off the phone.

I really wanted to ask her what kind of call center training she’d received. Instead, I asked her how she had our email, and she replied “Well, isn’t your email xyz…?” I told her it wasn’t, and she asked for my husband’s first name. It turns out she was looking at another person’s account with the same last name.

Only then did she start listening to me.

Customers should never feel like they are not being heard. In order for businesses to thrive, customers’ needs must be listened to and understood. Effective listening skills are essential to provide quality service to customers.

Below are some effective listening tips:

  • Avoid making assumptions -when you assume you know what customers need, you are setting yourself up for failure. Listen to what customers say so you have accurate information.
  • Focus on your customer – don’t be distracted by other thoughts or outside forces. When someone is speaking, focus only on them.
  • Listen for key feelings – not only are spoken words important, but also how your customer feels. Being aware of feelings enables you to be customer-focused.
  • Take notes – keep a notepad accessible to capture important information. This allows you to recap information to your customer and provide them with quality service.

So what do you think….are you a good listener? If you answered “yes”, that is good news. If you answered “no”, don’t worry, because good listening skills can be learned.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.


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