It can't be said often enough. Listening is so important that there should be a training completely devoted to the topic (hint: this will be a topic in our upcoming CSP training class. Learn more.)
Listening seems to be a major struggle for many agents. Call handling time metrics play a role in this, but having little patience may also play a part. Countless issues can be avoided if you take the time to listen to the customer without thinking about what you want to say next or what you're having for lunch.
Listening is perhaps the most powerful tool in your kit. With proper training it can be weilded to bring about powerful results. An individual who feels heard is more apt to hear you. Listening not only allows time for customers to vent and take the edge off their frustration. It supplies the insights needed to
fully understand the customer issue,
over come objections,
offer products that fill a need for the customer,
and show the customer that you care.
4 Tips for Active Listening
1. Focus completely on the customer.
Forget about lunch, the gossip in the company chat, and your frustration from the last call. A moment of distraction can lose you the key piece of information needed to solve the customer issue and wrap up the call.
2. Observe the customer's tone, pacing, and word choice.
Does the customer sound tired, frustrated, angry, nonchallant, excited? What descriptive words are the customer using. Understanding how the customer is feeling is just as important as knowing the details of the issue. You'll be able to pattern your tone and word choices to reflect empathy and understanding. You'll also be able to mirror the customer.
3. Don't allow previous calls overly impact your thinking.
Yes, experience is very useful. But assume that you know the issue before you have had a chance to hear the customer's explanation and ask probing questions. Also, don't allow annoyance from similar call types color how you hear and handle the current call.
4. Get confirmation that you understand.
Rephrase the customer's issue in your own words to ensure that you are on the same page. Next, ask releveant and insightful questions that not only guide you to the solution, but reconfirm for the customer that you get and that you're on top of things.
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