Most people think they are good listeners. But listening effectively is something that very few people do well. It’s not that listening is so difficult, it’s simply that most people have never developed the skills. And even if you know what to do, it’s easy to slip into bad habits.
The February issue of Customer Communicator, the newsletter for frontline reps, includes four dos and four don’ts for better listening. Here are two of my favorites:
DO take responsibility
A common misconception about listening is that it’s a passive activity. You sit at your desk with your headset on, and the information simply flows through the line. Not true! Effective listening involves taking full responsibility and deciding to listen.
In many cases when we try to do more than one thing at a time, our focus on the customer falls short. The problem can be a result of job design — such as being asked to do two things at once. But it can also result from efforts to be more productive such as responding to an email while speaking to a customer. Studies show the human brain is capable of handling only one conscious thought at a time, so give the customer your undivided attention.