Listening skills are essential to providing great customer service. Unfortunately, many customer service representatives are not as good at listening as they might think. Sure, they can hear you, but do they understand you? Customers often convey more than one message when they make a request.
Click the link below to listen to a sample customer service call. What does the caller need?
(Don't cheat and read below until you've listened to the call...)
What did you hear?
Most people can clearly identify one of the caller's basic needs. She received the wrong item, but wants to keep it and have the correct item sent to her as well. Simple, right? Not so fast. There is also an underlying issue that the caller never mentions directly but must be addressed.
She needs acknowledgement and reassurance! If you listen closely, you can almost hear the questions she never asks directly. Is this transaction going to be complicated? You already made one error, can I trust you to get it right this time? Am I even explaining this so you understand what I need?
An outstanding customer service rep would be sure to apologize for the inconvenience and reassure the caller that everything would be handled properly. The rep would also follow-up after the call to make sure the transaction really was processed correctly this time around.
Practice makes perfect
Try listening for that "second layer" the next time you serve a customer. You'll create a fantastic experience if you can spot the underlying issues and address them.