When I listen to customer service, there is nothing more frustrating to me than to have someone be wrong or there to be a misunderstanding and the customer service representative just looks at you as though it’s your fault. I am the customer, if there is a misunderstanding it is coming from something that happened during our original interaction or the interaction we are having now. While I don’t expect a representative to always say they are sorry, (There is nothing more annoying than an insincere apology anyway) I do expect them to hear me out and try to find a way to help make the situation better.
I was recently listening to a customer service interaction and the representative that was assisting the customer was not listening to the questions the customer was asking but instead was just repeating herself over and over and over which was just annoying the customer repeatedly. This in turn just made the customer more and more angry. Finally a supervisor stepped in and talked to the customer and the problem was resolved. It was frustrating to the customer because it was such a small thing that with the representatives lack of listening was made bigger and bigger until it was too much.
This made me think about what it means to be a good listener, and why this is important at this time. As I have said before in an economy in which there is a lot of competition for business due to companies having a hard time staying afloat, it is really critical to listen to what our customers want and need and find out what we can do to better this. When you have a representative working for you and they can’t seem to listen here are a few tips to pass to them:
1. Stop talking; let the person with the concern talk first and that will be the easiest way to find out what they are looking for. This will in turn lead you to more understanding.
2. Look at them, really engage in what they are saying and if you forget things or it’s a long explanation, take notes so you can refer back to them when finally answering their question.
3. When responding give the details that are needed to help the customer understand what the issue is, why it came about, and how to avoid it in the future. Give them SOLUTIONS, not more problems.
As managers it is then important to take time to follow-up and coach these employees on what they are struggling in when listening to customers. Without this assistance the team member may not even see what went wrong and won’t realize that it was them that wasn’t listening, not the customer.