Have trouble staying focused on the phone? Many people struggle with wandering thoughts and interrupted train of thought when talking on the phone. Staying focused on the phone has to be a purposeful act – you never end up focusing by accident.
When the content of phone calls is repetitive, or if you’re answering a lot of calls, it’s easy to lose track of conversations and hard to regain focus.
Focus is a deliberate action, and in order to stay focused on the phone, you have to make the decision to dedicate your full attention to the conversation at hand.
How to Stay Focused on the Phone
1. Turn off your internal dialogue
One of the biggest hinderences to remaining focused on the phone are your own thoughts and internal dialogue. By putting your attention on what’s being said instead of letting your thoughts wander, you anchor yourself to the conversation and are better able to understand the caller’s needs.
But it’s not as simple as “turning off” your internal dialogue – you’ll have to train yourself to revert your attention back to the conversation when you begin to notice your mind wandering.
2. Make listening your main priority
While offering assistance and solutions are the basis of any customer service role, having that mindset while listening to a customer can impede your focus. Instead of thinking in terms of solutions or assistance, focus entirely on listening until the customer is finished speaking.
Offering solutions and assistance is only possible when you genuinely understand the problem or question at hand, and listening intently (without interrupting to prematurely offer a solution) is the only way to gain that understanding.
3. Take notes
If all else fails and you can’t seem to concentrate on the phone with active listening and interrupting your internal dialogue, try taking notes throughout the call. Act as though you’ll be tested on the material and listen hard, taking notes along the way.
Not only will this exercise leave you with valuable notes and info after the conversation, but it will also train you to listen more attentively and better focus on the conversation at hand.
What if you lose focus during a conversation?
If you briefly lose focus during a conversation and you don’t know what the caller said last, just politely ask them to repeat their last sentence to regain your place in the conversation. “Sorry, could you repeat that? I couldn’t hear you clearly.”
If you know the last thing the customer said but don’t know the context, you can repeat the last words they spoke as a question to get them to elaborate. “So the shipment arrived 2 days late?”