For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak
In customer service, is it more important to be a good sender of information or receiver? For customer service providers, it is just as critical to listen as to speak. Is there an art to being a good listener? Yes. Does it come naturally? I think not. In fact, research indicates that we hear half of what is said, listen to half of what we hear, understand half of it, believe half of that, and remember only half of that.
That means in an eight-hour workday, you spend about 4 hours listening. You hear about 2 hours worth. You listen to 1 hour’s worth. You understand 30 minutes of that hour. You believe only 15 minutes worth. In addition, you remember just under 8 minutes worth.
How important are the nonverbal aspects compared to the actual words we use when communicating? Your words are about 7 percent of your communication, tone of voice 38 percent, and body language about 55 percent, and yet, most communication training centers on the use of words.
Often we fake attention because our thought-to-speech ratio. We can think five times faster than the other person talking can. Now you can do something productive with that extra lag time in your thought-to-speech ratio.
Leadership consultant Tom Peters notes: “Good listeners get out from behind their desk to where the customers are.” Do you give your full attention to the people who talk to you? If not, learn a powerful, technique that will improve your listening and help you gain rapport with anyone you meet. This technique comes from the science of neuro-linguistics programming (NLP,) developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler. By incorporating NLP into the way we work with people, we can “read” people more sensitively, establish a positive relationship more quickly, and respond to them more effectively.
Mirroring is the Art of Copying Another Person’s Behavior
Mirroring, one of several NLP techniques, is the art of copying another person’s behavior to create a relaxed communication situation. We tend to like people who are like us. If we look like someone (and 93 percent of who that person is, is nonverbal), they will subconsciously say to themselves, “I like this person. They are just like me.” In addition, if we like someone, we trust him or her and want to do business with him or her. Think about the potential this has for promotions, building business, and building relationships and friendships.
Specifically, this is how you mirror: First, match the other person’s voice tone or tempo. If they talk fast, you talk fast. If they talk slowly, you talk slowly. When I speak in New York, I cannot speak quickly enough. If I am in southern Texas, I slow my pace down to match their pace. One way to help you match the other person’s tempo is to match the other person’s breathing rate. Pace yourself to it. Match the other person’s body movements, posture, and gestures. If the person you’re mirroring crosses his or her legs, you cross your legs. If the other person gestures, you gesture. Of course, subtlety is everything. You may want to wait several seconds before moving.
The process of mirroring is natural. You do it naturally with people you like and have built rapport with.
Morton Kelsey said it well when he said, “Listening is being silent in an active way.” If you think of it, if you rearrange the letters in the word listen, it is equivalent to silent. We would be more effective in customer service if we would listen more and talk less.
I hope that this listening technique will help you gain much wisdom and that as a result, you will have to repent very little.