Imagine someone calling your company because they purchased one of your products but was shipped the wrong product. They go on for what seems like forever listing off their grievances and asking you what you’re going to do to rectify the situation. You’re stressed, overwhelmed, and want to end the interaction as soon as possible.
We get it because we’ve been there.
When we start to feel on edge and overwhelmed, it can be easy for us to skip to conclusions in conversations, unable to be fully present, and taking shortcuts to solve a problem. The reality is that It takes excellent active listening skills to help customers feel validated and to keep us focused on solving their problem – while delivering outstanding customer service. While active listening takes patience and practice, we’ve got some tips to help you become a better active listener with your customers and clients.
- Don’t Interrupt
This one might seem obvious but resist the urge to interrupt. Nothing feels more invalidating than when someone interrupts you while you’re speaking. But what if you’ve already got a response to what they’re saying?
- Hush Your Inner Dialogue
Have you ever had a teacher tell you to put your hand down while they’re speaking? You’re thinking about a question or comment based on something they said, so why would you put your hand down? While we’re glad to know you have thoughts in your brain, sometimes you need to tell them hush so that you can actually listen to what someone else is saying. We understand – this is way easier said than done. Instead of merely waiting your turn to talk, hush your internal dialogue, and listen to what the customer says. If you need help getting started, read on.
- Be a Copycat
Sometimes, it can be tough to hush that internal dialogue. Our suggestion? Be a copycat. Are we serious? Well, sort of. Don’t actually copy every word your customer says – that would be annoying. What we mean is, after your customer has asked their question or stated their concern(s), restate what they’ve said back to them. Not only will this make your customer feel you’ve really heard them, but it allows them to correct anything that you restate, ensuring you really understand their problem.
- Mirror Your Customer
Another way you can be a copycat is by mirroring your customer. When you reflect your customer’s tone with your own, it has a tremendous impact on their validation. Regardless of how the customer’s tone, it is still critical that you remain friendly, polite, and focused on helping them. But, if they’re disappointed, mirror that by recognizing their emotions and empathizing. If they’re happy, express how glad you are that they’re happy. When you adjust your tone to mirror another’s, it can help them feel valued and understood.
- Get Some Clarity
Allow the customer to fill in the blanks by asking clarifying questions. It can be challenging for us to not skip to conclusions, especially if there were confusing or unclear aspects of the conversation. Merely taking some extra time to clarify any confusing elements by asking questions enables your customer to see that you care about what they’re telling you.
- The Power of Affirmations
There are all kinds of different affirmations you can use to show someone you’re engaged and listening to what they’re saying. Saying “Mhmhmm” and “I understand” at the appropriate times will communicate that what they’re saying is important to you and will encourage them to keep going.
Outstanding active listening skills can take practice to perfect. Take the next step in your customer service by investing in a top-notch answering service so that your customers are sure to have a fantastic experience.
Now is the best time to integrate an answering service into your business and customer service experience, and we’re here to help. Give Midwest Answer a call today at 844-720-1115.