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  • Everyone Can Talk…But Can Your Customer Service Reps Listen?

    Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

    by PhonePRO


In today’s world, someone being described as able to deliver a strong “elevator pitch” is

high praise. We’re all impressed by those who can remain articulate in the most stressful of

situations…and yet, to be well spoken isn’t always the most important skill to have when it

comes to customer service. The ability to listen counts too-maybe even more.


Especially on the phone, it’s easy to fall into a trap of immediately “telling” someone what

their problem is, or how we’re going to “fix” it, especially when we feel we have the

information that they are lacking. But in the end, an effective customer service

professional isn’t necessarily the one who talks the most.


If your client is calling you angry or unhappy, studies show that their first and most important

need is to be heard. Let them explain what happened, how they feel, what they think, and

exactly how bad the weather was outside when the package was left at the front door in the

rain. Put yourself in active listening mode, taking in what they tell you while still

communicating “uh huhs” or better yet, by occasionally repeating phrases back to them to

show you understand exactly what they are saying. A well timed “so it sounds like it was

really pouring rain at that point” goes a lot longer than you might think.


And the good news? This active listening technique works particularly well with those who are

extremely upset- the folks who have pretty much reached the end of their rope before they

even picked up the phone to call you. Simply the act of letting them talk-and be heard-is the

best possible “therapy” for an irate customer. They can’t scream forever, and if you refuse

to engage in a battle of wills, showing instead you’re just there, at first, to listen, the sooner

you’ll get to a place where reason and even negotiation are possible.


One of the primary needs in most peoples’ lives is to be validated and understood. In the hustle

and bustle of the modern marketplace, bombarded with complicated “press one for service”

phone trees, elaborate contact us forms and more, many people clearly don’t feel either from

many of the companies they do business with.


So slow down. Breathe. Listen first, before you try to find a resolution to their problem.

Indeed, in practicing active listening, you may find half, if not three quarters of the

solution comes before you even really have an opportunity to explain.

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