About 55% of time of human communication is devoted to listening. This percentage is way bigger for those working in customer support. For them, the ability to listen and hear is crucial. Without it, there may be no ticket resolution.
To ensure customers feel cared for, and the communication with them is smooth, a support team should implement active listening — a technique that can help reduce customer churn and elevate the overall level of service.
In this article, we'll cover:
What Is Active Listening?
Active listening is a special technique that can be used in customer support, personal life, counseling, etc. It includes careful listening and providing feedback by paraphrasing what was said by a speaker.
It helps establish a better, more to-the-point communication between the parties and lead to a deeper understanding between them. In customer support, this can result in more trusting relationships and help customer service representatives get better, more accurate information for a faster resolution.
Studies show that listeners forget about 50% of information within just 10 minutes after the presentation. Active listening can significantly increase the amount of information remembered after a conversation.
How to Listen Actively?
Patience is a virtue, especially when in customer support. To stay patient with any customer, remember:
- 🟢 They are not angry at you. They are frustrated with the situation and with the need to contact a support team at all — Forrester estimated that about 53% of customers abandon their online purchases if they can’t find an answer to their questions themselves. Not giving into customers’ frustration or rage is the first step towards being patient and able to listen actively.
- 🟢 Any issue has a resolution. Some might take longer, but any issue can be resolved. Remember about the opportunity to escalate the ticket, and always notify customers about possible delays.
- 🟢 Empathy is the key. Staying empathetic will help not only remain calm, but remind a support consultant the reason behind implementing active listening — to help a customer in need.
Remembering these easy points can help any support representative stay calm during any conversation, which will open up the chance to implement as much active listening as possible.
Let Customers Speak as Much as They Need and Do Not Interrupt
When customers encounter a frustrating issue, they want to talk to someone, be heard and understood. It is practically a therapy session for them.
Listen carefully to everything a customer has to say, and make as many notes along it as possible. It can speed up ticket resolution and help the team understand customers and their issues better.
Interrupting is another habit to drop when actively listening to customers. It can lead to more frustration, irritation, and, ultimately, decreased customer satisfaction. Do not make assumptions and do not try to finish customers’ thoughts for them. Let them tell everything they need or want, and only after that start resolving their issues.
Confirm You Heard Everything Correctly
Repeating is one of the best and most efficient ways to remember the information you heard, and assure a customer knows you have been listening and registering everything carefully.
There are different ways to repeat:
- Word by word exactly.
- Paraphrasing what was said.
- Using your own words to relay what a customer has said.
Leveraging these techniques can save the team time and effort on confirming their understanding of the issue.
Avoid Multitasking While Listening
Sometimes customer support consultants have to deal with several tasks simultaneously. Speaking with one customer over the phone and noting the details of their ticket, answering a coworker’s email, and trying not to get in the way of other team members by being loud — when done at the same time, none of them will be of sufficient quality.
To listen actively, try ditching other tasks and focus on one customer at a time. Focusing on the speaker at hand will help focus and provide the best and personalized service to every customer.
If done correctly, active listening can help reduce customer churn, increase satisfaction and improve the overall customer experience.
Active Listening at SupportYourApp
To prevent any miscommunication, SupportYourApp pays a lot of attention to active listening techniques, with our clients, their customers, and with each other:
From the first call all the way to years of successful collaboration: we never stop listening to our clients. Their opinions, comfort, and success are our priorities. Active listening helps us not only hear their needs in the moment, but teaches us to foresee their future needs as well. This helps us perfect our service and tailor them for every client.
Everyone who joins our team, goes through several interviews as well as a thorough onboarding process. They make sure only the people with the best communication skills join our team. Everyone then goes through several weeks of training and practicing.
Training does not end there. We always encourage our customer support consultants to continue their development. Our Service Delivery Managers are always ready to conduct conversation simulations and make sure everyone on the team has the skills to retain a high level of service we have been providing to our clients.
To make sure the processes are correct, everything runs smoothly, and there are no misunderstandings, everyone at SupportYourApp practices active listening. Since the establishment of the company 11 years ago, we have understood and valued the importance of dialogue and the power of communication. Active listening is one among many techniques we use when collaborating. All of them help us understand each other better and be more efficient with our tasks.
💛 SupportYourApp and active listening go hand in hand. Leveraging it to develop and help our clients achieve success is one of the SupportYourApp core values and practices.
Anna has been working as a writer for 6 years. She previously wrote about financial markets, conducting the research on the state of bonds and stocks on a daily basis. She is a keen reader with interest in historical literature and international cuisine. Her latest obsession — customer communication and ways to perfect it. If you want to connect with Anna, follow her on LinkedIn.Posted on