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Guide to Effective Listening

Guide to Effective Listening

On the phone or in person, listening is the single most important service skill. This training guide provides simple and powerful ways to develop good listening skills and to give every customer the most appropriate and professional service.

Read the sample below to see how much useful information is packed into a brief section of this guide.

Introduction: Listening
is a skill

There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. With the exception of those with hearing impairments, all of us can hear — it’s just sound waves pounding on the eardrum. But to really listen you must actively take in what you hear, interpret it, and be able to act on it.

Whether you are working with a customer, client, or coworker, on the phone or in person, that type of listening is the foundation of good customer service.

The person who reaches out to you has an objective — a problem that needs to be solved or a question that needs to be answered. They may even have a secondary objective or an unspoken objective. It’s up to you to be able to interpret, question, respond, and take action.

But if you aren’t really listening none of that will happen.

Becoming a service listener

One of the best ways to become a better listener is to practice service listening. This is where you make a conscious effort to not only hear what the speaker is saying but also to understand what the speaker is saying and how the speaker is feeling.

Most people use many of the service listening techniques without even being fully aware of it — they just come naturally. The key to improving your skills is to consciously use these techniques in every customer interaction. They will quickly become second nature and you’ll find that you can give every customer your full attention in the most positive, professional, and productive way. But before we present the service listening techniques, take the brief self-quiz on page 3 to learn where you may need to focus extra attention in the future.


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