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Ears: Your Customer Service Secret Weapon

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You don’t need an underground lair, a special security clearance or a thermonuclear laser-mabob to deliver shareworthy service.

You need great listening skills!

For those of you who weren’t paying attention the first time, I’ll say it again:  “You need great listening skills!”

Exceptional listening skills help you and your staff prevent misunderstandings, strengthen business relationships and get things done right the first time.  Managers who provide employees with thorough training on how to listen effectively (and practice those skills themselves) reinforce the value of this important skill – and reap the benefits.  So share these quick tips with everyone in your office and turn your ears into customer service secret weapons:

Quiet your body.  When you are listening, make sure you maintain good eye contact and avoid fidgeting.

Tune out distractions.  Background noise, a full inbox or a ringing cell phone can prevent you from focusing 100% of your attention on the speaker’s message.  Treat each customer interaction as if it were the most important of the day.

Wait your turn.  A customer’s willingness to talk (within reason) presents a golden opportunity to learn.  Always let the speaker finish – interrupting is just plain rude.

Reserve judgement.  Keep an open mind as you listen.  Try to prevent yourself from formulating a response until you’re sure you’ve received the speaker’s entire message.

Take notes.  It will help you remember the customer’s key points.

Pay attention to nonverbal cues.  Sometimes, actions speak louder than words.  Watch the speaker’s body language (posture, proximity, hand gestures, etc.) carefully to receive additional important information.

Check understanding.  Use a phrase like “If I am hearing you correctly…” to summarize the speaker’s message and make sure you accurately understand the situation at hand.  If something is unclear, use clarifying questions to get the information you need.

When it comes to shareworthy service, there’s always room for improvement – ways to make customers happier, more loyal and more savvy users of your staffing and recruiting services.  Enhancing your listening skills is a simple step that will help you take your customer service to the next level.

Have a customer service topic you’d like to see addressed in my shareworthy service blog?  I’d love to hear about it.  Leave your suggestions below!

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