Customer Service Fundamentals - Part II
I previously wrote about our first Customer Service Fundamental - Always Remember the Importance of the Customer. Today I am going to write about our 2nd customer service fundamental - Listen.
Until about a year ago I had never explicitly had any formal training or education on listening. Sure it was discussed and there was always the saying "you have one mouth and two ears" but, even if you're explicitly trying to not monopolize the conversation, you could be using a listening style that is completely nonproductive.
Then I went to a seminar led by Rich Hill of Gabriel Consulting. Rich made everyone there understand all of their own personal listening styles and the impact that each of them could have on the value that both the speaker and the listener get from a conversation and, most importantly to me, how strongly a person's listening style can impact the speaker.
As engineers, we sometimes have a need to speak to show how much we know and that we do in fact have the expertise that our customers are hiring us for. However, at DMC we strongly feel that in order to truly deliver the best value to our customers we have to listen to understand. Our statement on that is quite simple:
Everyone at DMC actively listens to our Customers, ensuring that we understand their problems so we can offer them the best possible solutions.
The fundamentals of good listening are quite simple - they just take a certain amount of discipline that we don't always use. There's a basic yet very effective column, written by Gladys Edmunds, in this week's USA Today regarding listening. Although I wouldn't 100% agree with Gladys, our philosophies are far closer than apart. Her bullet points on listening (which actually were from Joe Takash):
- Practice Silence
- Eliminate Distractions
- Show Non-Verbal Attentiveness
- Use the "Repeat Principle"
I know that it's a bit redundant from other information, but it is funny how intertwined and inter-dependant our Customer Service Fundamentals are:
- Always Remember the Importance of the Customer
- Be Nice
- Understand, Manage, and Where Possible, Exceed Expectations
- Build Relationships & Rapport
It is impossible to show the importance of our customer and not listen. If someone isn't listening they aren't being nice nor can they understand a customer's expectations and, without listening, someone probably will have a hard time connecting with another person.
Next time - the importance of being nice!
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