Whether you’re talking to a customer before they place their first order, considering a new order from your customer, or even taking care of a customer concern, listening well is the first step to ensuring that everything goes smoothly. And how can you listen better? Here are five simple active listening tips to get you started.
1. Listen Attentively
When your customer is talking to you, listen attentively to them and try to minimize interruptions while you do. Look them in the eye, nod, and smile while they're talking. This will help you hear as much as possible of what they are trying to say, but it will also encourage them to be clear because they'll feel like you're listening. But what if your customers give you feedback online?
2. Read Carefully
We've all done it. We're skimming a news headline or the nutrition information on packaging when suddenly what we thought we read isn't actually what was written on the page.
With an increasing number of customer interactions happening on social media, though, it's essential to read carefully. Your customer doesn't have the benefits of body language or tone to help express their meaning, so you might not be getting all the information you would receive if you were speaking in person. Because of this, read very carefully, and ask questions as needed.
3. Pause for a Moment Before Responding
Nobody likes to be interrupted. If you're talking with your customer in person, pausing before responding is a great way to ensure that your customer has finished talking. But that's not the only benefit of taking a moment to pause.
Pausing also gives you a moment to decide what the most important point to discuss is. Did your customer say something that raised an important question? Start with that. Was there anything that stuck out to you as confusing or in need of elaboration? Talk to them about it. Taking the time to pause, even for a moment, can help you collect your thoughts.
If you're talking to your customer online, take this same moment to pause and re-read your response. Does it say everything you want it to? Did you ask about everything you have questions about? Take a moment to read your response before posting it.
4. Ask Questions
Was something unclear? Take the time to ask questions and figure out what your customer meant. Do you need more detail? Ask them to expand on those points. Asking questions not only ensures that you get the information that you need, but it also shows that you were listening carefully to what your customer was saying.
5. Repeat it Back In Your Own Words
Think you've got it down? Take a moment to repeat what your customer has said, but say it in your own words. This will ensure that you not only heard the exact words that your customer said but also understood what they meant. If you can put it in your own words and they agree with what you've said, you've got it down.
What do you do to ensure that you've got all the information you need from your customers? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Emily Roycraft - Navitor