Clients want you to LISTEN – to really listen!
February is the month when retailers remind us about how special our personal relationships are and how we should recognize them with cards, candy, romantic dinners, and presents. But what about your clients and customers? February could also be a month to remind us all to nurture our business relationships too. Our clients want to feel valued and special. So this month, I’m giving you some reminders to help you make your clients love you now and for the rest of the year. Let’s start with listening.
Please Listen, Really Listen
For your customers, there is nothing more frustrating than speaking to someone about an issue or a problem and to find the person they are talking to hasn’t been paying attention. How annoying it is to have to explain the problem again. As a customer, this drives me nuts! This is one reason why I dislike customer service call centers because the odds are against your getting someone on the phone who KNOWS how to listen.
Effective listening is a skill that requires self-control. There is research data that suggests we spend 45 % of our time listening. One would think, as adults, we would have had enough practice to be effective listeners. But there are many people who adopt a defensive or confrontational attitude when others are talking which creates a communication barrier. A skilled listener will not interrupt while someone else is talking. They don’t attempt to talk over the person who is speaking. They don’t try to make personal comparisons or try to top what the other person is saying.
To be skilled at listening, you have to understand that the act of listening is more than hearing. Those who are successful in the art of customer service use empathetic listening. For example: when you listen to your best friends, you also listen to understand their feelings as well as their spoken message. You are really listening because you care. Customers want to know you care too because if you don’t, there is someone else out there in your industry who will show them THEY do.
Show your customers you care!