Posts Tagged ‘listening’
Most of you will answer the customer, just as I did. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. Twice this week policy defined customer service for the business.
First, the United Airlines customer service rep encouraged me to use the kiosk to obtain my boarding pass for my flight home. When I asked to wait and talk to a person he reiterated United Airlines policy encourages you to use the kiosk. I tried to explain my situation and was interrupted. At this point, I blurted out…so customers are highly encouraged to use the kiosk! He said, “Yes.” So, I went to the kiosk and guess who meets me there? That’s right, the customer service rep. He started telling me how to use the kiosk. I took a deep breath, looked him in the eye and said, “I understand how to obtain a boarding pass using the kiosk.” “I just wanted to know if an upgrade to first class was possible?” The customer service rep stopped and said, “Oh.” For the first time during this interaction he was listening to me vs. being just tasked focused and aiming himself at me. His focus on company policy turned me into a thing and determined my level of satisfaction.
Second, this morning I was sitting at the counter eating breakfast at Waffle House. I went to hand my ticket and money to the waitress and she said, “You will need to go to the register to pay.” Her statement struck me funny so I said, “Amazing how today’s businesses define customer service?” Of course she started explaining why I had to pay at the register. Each time she provided an answer as to why, I said, “The business defines customer service.” Finally, she looked at me and said, “You look like I can trust you.” She then took my money for the food. Again, is company policy defining customer service?
WOW!!!, while writing this post I received a phone call from the Buca di Beppo restaurant in Franklin TN. They wanted to make sure we enjoyed our visit yesterday. In fact, the food was great, our server Noel was exceptional and she even put our extra food in containers for us to take home.
Customer service may be defined by the business but the customer always determines satisfaction!
How are business policies preventing your employees from providing exceptional customer service…the kind of service that creates referrals and customer loyalty?
Remember, what you sell can be duplicated but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.
From the time we are born, listening is a skill acquired and used primarily before any of the other senses. Throughout youth and the teen years, we rely heavily on listening to learn from school and parents. It is also during this time that we develop the skills of communicating.
An old rhyme goes like this; “A wise old owl sat on an oak; the more he saw, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard; why aren’t we like that wise old bird?”
Why is it then, with such an aptitude of listening that is developed from the time we are born – perhaps even one the most used of our senses – do we fail to continue listening the older we get?
It seems as though listening is a skill that worsens throughout the growing years, as other skills develop and take precedence. By the time people face adulthood they have also faced many bad experiences. One human instinct is to “tune it out” after awhile. For example, a kid who hears his parents fighting a lot growing up may try to drone out the unwanted sound by blaring music loudly in his bedroom. Or, a child who has faced ridicule from peers may tune out those feelings of rejection by simply not listening to people any longer.
Another reason people don’t listen well as adults is because they have mastered the art of talking. Naturally egocentric as humans, we like to talk about ourselves or about things we like. Over time, this can lead to interrupting. Ifsomeone is not listening to what you have to say they may interrupt frequently. That is because they are on a train of thought and are too unaware that the natural order of conversing back and forth means
‘You talk, then I listen; then I talk, and You listen.”
Yet a wise old sage once said; “We have been given two ears but one single mouth, in order that we may listen more and talk less.” Good point.
Let’s go back to the owl. As an observer, the wise owl mastered listening and was able to capture his surroundings. Think how much more people would be able to take in mentally if they truly heard everything that was going on around them. In the spy movies, the secret agent is always quiet; hence he always knows what’s going on and is a stealthy step ahead of the bad guys.
In an abstract sense, perception impairs the ability to talk and listen adequately causing gaps between the subconscious intent of the leader and what subsequent results may follow. Some leaders intend to ‘bring down’ others in order to fluff up their own ego. This can be a sign of self-doubt. Those are leaders who got promoted because of making their presence known, loudly! The quiet leaders are the motivators. They quietly know what the capabilities are of their subordinates, so they don’t need to yell in order to motivate them. This enforces the aspect of trust on behalf of the leader and the follower. It could be said that leaders are quiet motivators with abundant wisdom, most of which they acquired by listening more and speaking less.
The people who listen are known as wise, well respected and sought-after for advice. People trust them. That is because they are leaders, who absorb information by listening more and talking less. They have mastered the art of listening, hearing and implementing. They have gained respect and trust.
To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well,
and is as essential to all true conversation.
- Chinese Proverb