Why are listening skills so vital to great customer service management?
We are taught so many skills as young children, everything from tying our shoelaces to learning to speak and to read. How interesting that one of the most important skills a human being can possess is given no learning time at all throughout our education system. This is often the case when it comes to customer service listening skills too.
Our ears are tested when we are small, the majority of us are lucky enough that we can hear and that is that! The truth is that there is a huge difference between being able to hear and developing the vital skills of listening that are so important to being a great leader.
Why do customer service listening skills matter?
So why is listening so important? Asking effective open questions is a recognised skill in order for managers to encourage two way communication and build the rapport with their staff that is critical in order to develop a great team. However the power of the question is irrelevant if the manager does not listen to the answer! This is just as relevant to truly listening to customer feedback and concerns – it’s very difficult to fully resolve customer queries without actively listening.
Too often the team leader focuses their attention on what to ask next rather than listening to the answer and trusting that the next question will then naturally present itself. We are increasingly pressured by time and have heads full of information, lists and distractions which can all too easily take our attention and stop us focusing fully on the other person. Ironically, if we concentrate on listening it is likely that conversations will be quicker, staff will feel valued and share more and ultimately time will be saved and the operation will be more efficient.
Equally – listening to customers and understanding what isn’t being said it a hugely valuable skill to ensuring first-contact resolution.
The key to listening well is to understand that it is a skill like any other to be nurtured and developed.
It takes practice and conscious effort to listen well which will reap countless rewards allowing managers to challenge and support staff, hold people accountable and maximise potential. This will ultimately lead to the happier and more productive work environment all customer service managers strive to create.