In every human relationship, effective communication is the key to keeping it healthy by doing Active Listening. The principle applies to customer relationships.
Active listening is a crucial foundation of effective business communication. It means your customer service agent should focus on what the customer is saying, understand the words, and respond in a manner that validates and solves their concerns.
However, truth be told, active listening is not easy. Here are some tips on how you can hone your active listening skills:
Tune out all distractions.
Today, we are easily distracted during business calls. When you talk with a customer, remove all the possible distractions. It is important to focus on what they are saying to provide the best solution for their concerns. Do not multitask when talking to a customer.
Do not interrupt.
As the customer speaks, concentrate and do not interrupt. Only say “I see,” “I understand,” or other reassuring statements after they have voiced out their concern. Never cut them off; nobody likes to be cut off in the middle of a sentence.
Demonstrate concern by asking follow-up questions.
It is obvious for customers to want empathy when speaking to a contact center agent. You can demonstrate concern by active listening and asking follow-up questions. It helps get to the bottom of the issue and help provide the best solution to their concerns.
Repeat and paraphrase.
Other than asking follow-up questions, repeating and paraphrasing shows empathy to the customers. Knowing that your customers are frustrated and upset, repeating or paraphrasing what they said shows how attentive you are. It shies away from the possibility of arguments.
Using positive language.
Do not use negative language when dealing with customers. Positive language helps remove the stress and frustration that comes with the service calls. Remember, the frustration and anger felt by the customers are not directed towards you. Do not take it personally. Often they just want to be validated before being given a solution.
Always take note that most customer is upset. You have to control your emotions and be courteous even when the customer is rude. If the complainant becomes unacceptably rude or uses abusive language, it is acceptable to ask to calm down. However, there are some complainant that still persists, if you think the person does not want to mediate. You can explain, say sorry, and end the call.
Active listening takes a lot of skills and patience. If you do it right, you can build rapport with customers and get along with them. Do not forget to demonstrate concern, repeat the problem to show you heard and understood their concern, and use verbal affirmations.
We can all relate to being on a phone call with a customer service agent. That is why it is essential to handle critical situations efficiently. You do not want to lose customers over a situation that is resolvable. Being able to foster a natural conversation keeps consumers engaged and coming back. Do not lose the authenticity.