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How to Improve Customer Service Listening Skills

smiley facesCustomer service often defines a business’ success. This vital role is often underestimated and overlooked. Such workers are essential for the company, as they literally represent the company in the eyes of the customers. And each representative interaction essentially defines how the customer will see the whole company and how they will address it in the future. This means that the communication skills of the customer service representatives must be top-notch.

I would argue that the best way to start improving the skills of your representatives would be to improve their listening skills, as everything starts there. Only when a representative can hear what the customer needs can they provide them with all the necessary help, and represent the company in the best light. Without this set of skills, other skills don’t matter.

Here are some of the ways to train your representatives to nail listening:

Turn note-taking into a habit.

One good practice of active listening is to let your conversation partner know you’re listening to and hearing them. While most recommend verbally confirming that you are listening to your interlocutor quite often, customers can be so irritated they’ll take those affirmations for interruptions. Taking notes, on the other hand, is silent, and will make sure your representative doesn’t miss anything important ever.

Place your representatives in customers’ shoes.

Help your representatives analyze their customer-facing conversations to help them gauge whether the responses they provided would work for them if the roles were reversed.

Develop a solid conversation flow.

While every client is unique and should be treated as such on all levels, developing a basic conversation flow for your representatives is a good idea. They’ll definitely have a lot of similar conversations, and it is good if they can somewhat anticipate the flow of the conversation.

Train your representatives’ professionalism.

Some of your team may feel a lot of pressure to be lenient and extra-helpful to customers, and subsequently develop performance anxiety that may obscure listening skills. Make sure to explain to them that while their job is to assist the customer, they shouldn’t stress about becoming friends with them. This will help your team carry themselves more professionally and maintain a healthy distance from the clients, which will make them more calm, collected, and attentive.

Topics: Customer Experience, Onboarding, Coaching And Quality Management