Listening skills are invariably the most important skill to possess for an employee involved in customer service. Active listening skills go beyond just following directions, it improves job performance and efficacy, and it improves communication in the organization, ultimately benefitting the business as a whole. Effective listening may seem simple, even passive, but it requires patience and focus.
Some of the top entrepreneurs and business owners invest a large amount of time in training their staff in listening and speaking skills, as it leads to better customer satisfaction, increased productivity and innovation in work.
In the workplace, the cost of poor listening adds up to a loss of money and time, thus it needs to be dealt with effectively. Here are some useful tools to help employees improve their listening skills in the workplace.
Pay Full Attention:
Paying full attention to the speaker is the key to improving listening skills. Lack of concentration and lower attention spans are some of the reasons why employees could have poor listening skills. Employers can help their staff concentrate better by involving them in a dialogue instead of one-way communication.
Encouraging the staff to participate, by giving them an opportunity to voice out their opinions or ask questions within a team setting will help them improve their listening skills. The basic and the most powerful way to connect with another person is by paying full attention to what they are saying.
Eye contact and body language:
Nonverbal communication – facial expressions, eye contact, hand gestures, and body postures play an important role in communication. Establishing non-verbal communication builds rapport and conveys attentiveness, eventually improving listening skills in the employees.
The effective listening skill involves actively listening as well as responding accordingly to the context of the matter. Good listening skills include being responsive and alert about what the customer is saying.
It is important that employees empathize and engage customers to ensure they feel like they are being heard. Part of good listening is paying attention, asking questions, clarifying doubts, and being able to paraphrase and effectively identify the context.
Do not interrupt: Listening is a skill that can be improved by giving undivided attention to the other person. This builds respect and trust among the employees, customers and business owners. Interrupting and cutting off people creates miscommunication and diversion from the topic. Some of the benefits of improving listening skills of your employees are:
• Client satisfaction
• Will allow your employees to think out of the box to ideate solutions
• Develop ways to stay competitive in the market
• Be receptive to customer needs
• Maintain dynamic staff working environment which promotes creativity and growth