What Kind of Listener are You?

What Kind of Listener are You? by Mary Morris, Customer Service Training Specialist Effective listening is the key to understanding customers and providing exceptional customer service. However effective listening doesn’t just “happen” when delivering customer service, it is a skill.  And the skill of effective customer service listening must first be learned and then practiced as it requires a change in the way we think and act. Most of us have experienced “mental wandering”, especially on the phone and if there is a lot of noise around. The reason is most people speak at a rate of 125 words per minute. However the problem for listeners is that the brain is capable of handling almost five time that number, giving us ample time to fill the space with other activities. Customer service agents will usually use one of five common listening styles and each can be used in its functional and dysfunctional forms.   Each style has a time and place, but the use of one style in isolation can become dysfunctional So ask yourself, how well do you use these listening styles?  
  • Directing Listening
The listener directs the speaker by establishing the focus and direction of their behaviour.
  • Judgemental Listening
The listener introduces their own opinions and value judgements into the conversation often in the form of advice or prescribed right and wrong behaviour.
  • Probing Listening
The listener asks questions in an attempt to get to the heart of the matter.  In the process he/she tends to lead the conversation to satisfy other objectives.
  • Smoothing Listening
The listener tries to make light of the problem and this person believes that conflict should be avoided at all costs.
  • Reflective Listening
The listener works to develop an atmosphere in which the speaker can express his/her problem easily.  The listener feeds back neutral summaries of what they hear ensuring that understanding has occurred and allowing the speaker to keep talking.   The key to effective customer service listening is to understand the time and place when to use these styles to get the best outcome from any situation for the customer and your company For more information on how Mary’s Customer Service Training and Sales Training  in Australia brings these listening styles to life with real life examples and hands-on practice please contact us or 1300 611 288.