Communication is a two way street that requires more listening than talking. Whether you are the one answering your phones or you have hired somebody to do so, discovering how to be a better listener can make a huge difference.
A receptionist that listens to the concerns of a caller will automatically provide better customer service than somebody not really listening well. Here are a few tips to help you become an exceptional listener:
Put Your Focus on the Caller
You may be busy and your work environment may also be busy, but that’s not a valid excuse for taking your focus away from the person calling. Active listening requires you to focus on the person on the other end and listen without distraction. If you need a headset that blocks out background noise to make this possible, get one.
Regardless of how you go about putting your focus on the caller, that’s where it belongs. They are your highest priority until the conversation is over.
Ask Questions for Clarification
Instead of just listening and not completely understanding, ask questions for clarification. When you’re on the phone with a customer in need of help, you need to understand what they need and how you can help them. Clarifying what they are telling you will not only show you are listening, but it will also allow you to be more helpful to the customer.
Don’t Try to Fake It
Most callers will see right through you if you try to fake it. Don’t become somebody that only listens to see if the caller’s ideas conform to yours or the person that simply gives all kinds of solutions without actually listening to what the person needs.
You don’t want to be the pretender. Instead, genuinely listen to the caller’s needs and help to come up with the best possible solution once you’ve gathered all the information.
Paraphrase and Repeat
Sometimes, it’s necessary to paraphrase what a customer has said and repeat it back to them. Make sure you ask them if the information you have paraphrased is correct. You can also ask if you missed anything they may need to clarify for you so that you can get the full picture.
Close Unnecessary Computer Windows/Tabs
If you’re browsing the internet, while trying to focus on a caller, you won’t really be listening. It’s not necessary to have distractions and you only need to have programs/windows/tabs open on your computer that you need for the call. If it’s not necessary close it and focus on the caller.
Listening is one of the most important skills for a receptionist. This is why all virtual receptionists from conversational are trained to become exceptional listeners. Better listening leads to better customer service, which can certainly give you an edge over your competition.
Becoming an active, exceptional listener is an important skill set for just about every job. Whether you meet with people in person or talk to them over the phone, listening is far more important than talking.