Listening to Customers is More than Solving Problems

So your goal is to improve customer success and turn your customers into longtime evangelists? Well, we need to talk about something important first… The L word. No we don’t mean lockdown we’ve heard enough of that, we are talking about listening. If you want to build strong connections with your customer base then I’m sorry to say it’s not enough to plainly focus on solving their problems, sure this will get the job done, but if we want to build trust and connection we need to show our customers we’re different. You also need to listen carefully to what they say and how they say it so that you can communicate with them in a way that makes them feel most comfortable and helps them achieve their goals. 

 

Great Customer Service Depends on Great Communication

The best customer reps are excellent listeners, shocking we know. The best listeners pay close attention to their customers’ needs and try hard to understand how they can help them achieve their goals. As a team lead, you may feel like there’s no time for listening and repeating—but if you want good, satisfied customers, it’s an investment worth making. The importance of great communication in your business cannot be overstated—it requires more attention than any other aspect of running your team. As long as we invest in quality human to human conversation we can reap the rewards of building those two way connections in the form of evangelists for our business. After all communication and ultimately connection is a fundamental human need, why should it be any different in business.

 

Key Elements of Effective Communication

The most important thing in effective communication is hearing what isn't said. If you don't fully understand what your customers are trying to tell you, there's no way you can anticipate their needs. The second key element of effective communication is that it isn't enough just to hear what your customers are saying; successful service reps act on that information in some way. And when they do act, service reps need to respond efficiently and effectively—and adapt quickly if things go wrong or if you can’t act right away ensure you have record of the conversation in your CRM such as HubSpot so you can have a reminder to follow the customer up once you have taken action.

 

How to Help Customers Reach Their Goals

The goal of customer service, especially at an inbound call centre, isn’t just resolving problems or answering questions. The goal should be to help customers solve their problems and meet their goals. If you take an empathetic approach to your work and really listen (and not just hear) what a customer has to say, you can provide genuine value and achieve better results for everyone involved. By connecting with your customers on a personal level and taking into account their unique circumstances and current situation, you can create personalised solutions that better address whatever needs they may have. 

 

Use reflective listening techniques

When customers are talking, reflect back on what they say in your own words. This encourages them to clarify anything you don’t understand and it also shows that you care about what they have to say. Reflective listening techniques can help your service reps build relationships with customers while maintaining a positive customer experience. Here are some examples of reflective listening techniques: 

Summarise—This involves repeating what was said using different words or shorter sentences. Paraphrase—Paraphrasing involves saying what was said in one sentence using other words. Clarify—Clarifying involves asking questions about something you don’t understand or provide an example of how something might work in context if needed.

 

Some examples: 

“It sounds like…”

“It seems as if...”

“What I hear you saying…”

“I get the sense that…”

“It feels as though…”

“Help me to understand. On the one hand you… and on the other hand…”

 

Reflective listening can be a great way to ensure there is reduced noise during conversation which is often the cause of miscommunication. The key here is ensuring everyone understands what the needs are.

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