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Active listening in customer service to is crucial. Your call centre agents need to follow effective listening behaviours when they speak to leads, and showing that they’re listening will make a potential customer feel acknowledged and confident in the agent, while reducing any misunderstandings regarding the information the lead gives.
It can also improve how an agent interacts with a lead, while changing how that potential customer views the company your call centre represents – all of which can help achieve a sale.
With this in mind, here are some active listening exercises for your call centre agents to try out.
Staying focused and detecting the tone
When speaking to a lead, a first effective listening behaviour is for call centre agents to stay focused. They should try not to get distracted by their colleagues or other things happening in the call centre space. They should concentrate on what the caller is saying and not just look for gaps when they can speak.
Agents should listen carefully to the tone of the lead’s voice too. Doing this is important because it can allow them to match the tone with their own to get more from the potential customer. For instance, if they sound frustrated, demonstrating empathy can be really helpful. Or if they’re upbeat and sound positive, agents can match that positivity in their own tone.
Asking questions and taking notes
If an agent asks a potential customer important questions, they can gain more information that can help them achieve a sale. The agent can ask the lead about anything they’ve said that they don’t understand, which gives them the opportunity to clearly explain or clarify those points they’ve made. Doing this ensures they get facts right, while showing that they’re listening.
Taking notes is also an effective listening behaviour that agents should consider. Adding key points to a lead record in your system can help an agent determine questions they might want to ask their potential customer. This demonstrates that they’re listening to a lead, while having notes helps them feel more comfortable and confident when speaking to them.
Effective listening behaviours are just one aspect of good communication. Things like confirmation messaging via SMS, follow-up emails, and thank you messages can develop a relationship with a lead.
Not interrupting and not pre-empting
For the customer, being interrupted isn’t just rude. It can break their train of thought. Call centre agents should do their best not to interrupt a lead when they’re speaking. It’s better for them to let the potential customer finish what they’re saying before they speak, so they don’t miss any important information.
In addition to this, agents should not pre-empt what the potential customer is saying. The chances are they might be wrong, and, as a result, they could miss key facts that could be added to your lead management system. This could be information that helps another advisor who speaks to the customer at a later date.
Recapping and repeating
It’s also good for agents to recap and summarise facts when speaking to a lead. This is an opportunity to confirm what they’ve heard during a phone call is correct, while letting the lead know that they’re listening and that they’ve understood them.
Also, if the agent misses something the lead says, or had difficulty hearing them, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask the potential customer to repeat what they’ve said. This is better than guessing and assuming what they want.
Getting the best from your call centre agents
Effective listening behaviours are just one aspect of good communication, which is a key skill for a good call centre agent. Good communication is important for an agent to stay in touch with a lead and develop a relationship with them. This can include confirmation messaging via SMS, follow-up emails, and thank you messages to the customer once the lead is closed.
FLG can help ensure you and your agents have effective communication with all your leads. We provide a tool set for lead management that can help create conversations with your customers. It can:
- Utilise powerful workflows to keep your customers informed
- Process your leads efficiently to help you follow up and successfully close more sales
- Effectively integrate with other software platforms, such as MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.
If you’d like to learn more about FLG’s products and how we can help you create a top team of call centre agents to deliver a more effective service for your customers, please visit our Customer Contact page.