Listening is different from hearing in how much information we retain from an interaction.
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You can only deliver excellent customer service if you understand more of what customers expect from you. There are certain expectations that all customers have such as being treated courteously, getting good value for money, and getting accurate information. Then, there are expectations that differ from one customer to another. If you identify and fulfil those unique expectations, it will help you to build returning customers.
Here, we discuss how you can provide outstanding service to customers by developing your listening skills.
What does the customer want?
When a customer approaches you or you offer help to a customer, you must first try to find out what the customer wants. If they are confused about what they wish to buy, you can provide them a catalogue of your products/services, or show them some of your products. Give them time to decide. After providing them with the necessary guidance, do not influence their choice.
How does the customer feel?
A customer is unlikely to return to a business if s/he does not feel good about the service, even if good value for money has been received. When you are serving customers, it is essential to keep observing how they are feeling. For instance, if you have asked them to wait and you can hear the impatience in their voice or can see it in their body language, you must:
- Assure them that the wait will be over soon
- Ask them if they would like to have coffee or a soft drink, or perhaps something to read
Gestures such as these will show the customer that you care. Even if the wait has been long, they will then not mind it so much. In any situation where a customer is uncomfortable, use the above steps.
You must remember that not many customers will be vocal about their displeasure. Most will not consciously tell you that they do not like your service. You will need to observe their speech and body language to know if they are pleased with your service or not.
Handling Angry Customers
It is not easy to handle a person who is angry, but using the right techniques to handle an angry person will help you to calm the person down and resolve the issue that made the person angry.
Whenever you face an angry customer, listen to him/her actively. When a customer is angry, the only thing he/she wants to do at that time is to vent. That is how we all behave when we are angry. We want to express our anger.
Allow the customer to vent. Patiently listen to them talk till they have expressed what they wish to express. After they have finished, acknowledge their difficulty, emphasise, and provide them information about the resolution. Make sure that you offer them a deadline for the resolution, and follow up to ensure that they are fully satisfied with the service.
Having enhanced listening abilities is essential for a customer service professional, as they need to pick up on the various verbal and non-verbal signals that customers use to communicate their level of satisfaction with the service.
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