Listen up: are you listening to what your clients are saying?

listening to what your clients are saying

A simple truth: If you want to succeed in business, you must listen carefully to what customers really want.

The problem is that many people apparently overestimate their listening skills. In a study of working professionals by Accenture last year, nearly all said they consider themselves good listeners, while half prioritize asking questions and taking notes while listening. At the same time, 80 percent admit to feeling distracted due to multitasking and digital communications in the workplace.

With the global marketplace trending toward personalized communication and strategic customer relationship management, clients need to feel heard and understood. And teaching such skills is extremely important if you’re trying to maximize a pay-per-call campaign by training your sales staff to respond to callers’ pain points.

Tips for fostering better listening skills in the workplace:

– Listening involves more than hearing; it’s the understanding of words combined with context, non-verbal messages and the speaker’s needs and wants. Effective listening involves maintaining objectivity, subtly matching the speaker’s terminology and asking relevant questions that reveal underlying emotions. The best listeners continually extrapolate info, asking open-ended questions to draw conclusions.

– Listening to clients can take time. In your calling center, for example, you must balance making callers feel comfortable with limiting queries unlikely to lead to a sale. In some cases, staffers can save everyone’s time with a few key questions; in others they’ll need time to solicit valuable info like caller motivations, reasons for not buying and other factors.

– Don’t hesitate to take notes when listening to clients. Hand-written notes are more memorable for a longer time than those taken by laptop, according to research.
– Reflect on what you’ve really heard after talking to clients. What do they really seem to care about? Factor that into data gleaned via PPC campaign, online analytical tools, social media and other sources.

– Take full advantage of “social listening” by reading, commenting on and questioning what’s being said about you, your competitors and your industry on social media and online forums. Online analytics tools can also do the monitoring on your behalf. The info is extra valuable because it’s un-prompted, continuous, reported in real time and un-skewed by research interests. Avoid taking offense when it comes to criticism about your company, product or employees; seeing it online first allows you to react early and minimize risk.

– “Listen” to industry trends by continually following news articles, journals and newsletters about your industry. Any number of political, legal, financial, environmental, business, academic, spiritual or technological changes in the world could have an immediate effect on your company.

Recording calling center calls through a product like CallView360 allows for critiques of how your agents listen and respond. While avoiding rigid scripting, your agents should be taught how to recognize closing statements and close sales, as well as respond to customers who are angry, upset or even abusive. After all, listening closely to objections might facilitate a follow-up call. For more information, visit