Listening Ears

Last night I attended a G.A.T.E meeting for parents and while there I watched a debate Dog-Earsamongst 4th graders.  It was amazing as well as hilarious.  The points each child made demonstrated well-organized thoughts and ideas.  I couldn’t help but sit there and pick out strengths I thought each one might possess.  I also sat there and realized how differently each child perceived the topic they were discussing.  After listening to them for about five minutes, I knew I would have to relate information to certain ones differently than to others.  At home I try to find different ways to communicate with my children since they too are different from one another.  I then turned that around to customers.  Do I use the same tools when speaking with customers?  The majority answer for myself is no.

With each person you come across whether it be a co-worker, customer, neighbor or child, you encounter someone who processes information differently than yourself.  If I only focus on communicating according to my comfort level then I might not be conveying information to other individuals in a effective manner.

In a customer service environment, it’s difficult to gain extensive knowledge about the person you are speaking with on a call lasting just a few minutes.  On calls lasting upwards of an hour you can determine quite a bit more.  If the people you are speaking with appear to be struggling with the way you are communicating, take a step back, lower your frustration level and approach the topic in a totally different way.  This doesn’t mean you should talk down to the other person, but realize that you process information differently than they do.

Now how about including your coworkers in a little project?  Collaborate with them on a ways to best communicate effectively with all types of customers in all types of situations.  There is so much upside in connecting with the people you work with.  I have seen this first hand.  Recently we’ve pulled customer service representatives in to assist with ongoing projects.  Not only has this spurred some excitement, but things I never thought about are being covered.  Ideas that never crossed my mind are laying the groundwork for what we’re trying to accomplish.

This whole process has allowed me to see how each person’s perception is different.  So remember what your teachers taught you…Turn on your listening ears.

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