A recent article by Shelley Forrester discusses the significance of asking questions and demonstrating proper listening. Basically, the more questions you ask at the right time, the more you’ll learn and grow as a person and the stronger your relationships will become as long as you’re listening with your full attention. Forrester elaborates on this concept by pointing out a few key observations.
The first point is that a person should know when to ask questions. Knowing when to ask questions means waiting to ask until you can fully give attention to the answer. Sometimes in an environment is too noisy, you’re too flustered, or you’re too busy to actually hear someone when they’re talking to you. In times like this, it is disrespectful to ask a question because you won’t be able to give your attention to the person’s answer. When this occurs, Forrester recommends having patience and holding off on asking important questions for moments when you’re more focused and able to appropriately listen to input from colleagues.
Another important aspect of listening that Forrester points out is how you respond when someone answers your question. Customer service agents are often trained to ask customers how their experience was with their store/website visit, but it can be very easy for the employee to ignore the response if this question is done only out of procedure. Basically, Forrester says that if a service agent doesn’t actually care about the answer to the question and it’s only done out of routine, it can easily cause disconnect between the customer and the company and harm the relationship. Customer service agents can’t immediately fix every issue that comes their way, but they should always be willing to show empathy for customers to demonstrate that they’re listening to them and wanting to help. In addition, people can prove they truly care when they’re listening by reaching out to the customer after the customer has complained. For example, an agent could contact them the next day and offer them follow-up and any further assistance they need on the issue (discounts, offers, product replacement, etc.).
So, knowing that trying to listen in a distracting environment can bear poor results and also how significant it is to give appropriate responses and action when listening, how can contact center agents practice effective listening in an environment that is often chaotic? The biggest help comes from the contact center managers and trainers. Customer calls can be extremely challenging, so it’s important for agents to feel that their leaders have their back. Managers should allow for agents to take breaks to clear their mind, especially after exhausting calls.
It’s also important to foster an environment where agents feel their voice is heard and their managers actually listen to them when they are having problems. This can be accomplished by having one-on-one conversations with agents to ask them how they’re feeling about their job and what could make it better. In addition, managers can ask agents if they have any ideas for how the company could improve certain areas of the customer experience. When employees know their managers listen to input and care about them, and they have full confidence that they’re vital to the company’s success, they’ll be motivated to reciprocate that energy towards customers and take a genuine interest when listening and empathizing with them to provide real help for their issues.
This blog post was based on an article from Business 2 Community. To read the original article, please click the link below:
The Art of Asking Questions – Shelley Forrester
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