Telephone Skills for Customer Service

Listen to your customer

The first step in helping your customers is to find out what it is they are looking for. You have already planned what you will say and how you will respond, but what is it the customer wants to get across?

To find out, you need to:

  • Practice effective listening
  • Ask questions

Practice Effective Listening

The first lesson in listening is to be aware that there are only three types of expressions you hear from callers. Callers will make statements, offer objections, or ask questions. These will be explained in more detail later in the course, but you need to practice effective listening in order to understand what type of expression your caller is making.

When you fail to listen closely, you will hear what you want to hear, hear what you expect to hear, and not recognize the difference between a statement, objection, and question. If you do not listen closely, you may not be able to understand what the call is about.

For example, the customer says, “Your prices are a little higher than I though they would be.” How would you interpret this remark? This is a statement. If you take it as either an objection or a question, you won’t handle the conversation correctly.

Tool: View the “Are You a Good Listener?” to see how well you do at listening and understanding your callers.

Tool: Are You a Good Listener?

  1. I frequently have to ask callers to repeat information.  —-Agree /Disagree
  2. The messages or notes I take are often incorrect.   —-Agree /Disagree
  3. I often forget a caller’s name. —-Agree /Disagree
  4. I sometimes forget whom I placed on hold.  —-Agree /Disagree
  5. I sometimes find myself responding to the wrong question.  —-Agree /Disagree
  6. I am easily distracted when talking on the telephone.   —-Agree /Disagree
  7. After I hang up, I sometimes forget some of what was said.   —-Agree /Disagree
  8. When the call is long I often have trouble concentrating.   —-Agree /Disagree
  9. I often don’t hear some of the details of the call.   —-Agree /Disagree
  10. While listening, I mostly think about what I am going to say when it is my turn to talk.   —-Agree /Disagree