Active listening is a communication skill that is integral to providing great customer support. It involves actively listening for what is being said, understanding the content of the conversation, and not just passively hearing the words. It involves paying attention to the customer’s needs and feelings, using reflective responses and body language, and allowing time for them to speak and talk through their problem.

Active listening is used to empathize with the customer, and to make them feel heard and understood. By actively listening, agents give customers the time and space to express their thoughts, fears, frustrations, and expectations. This helps the customer to feel comfortable opening up and discussing their situation, which in turn creates a positive relationship.

Active listening is also useful because it eliminates miscommunication. Agents can obtain greater clarity and understanding of the customer’s problem or inquiry, resulting in fewer misunderstandings and resulting fewer issues. This can save time and money as it keeps the customer service process running more smoothly.

Active listening skills can be improved by practicing open questions such as “Tell me more?” or “What would you like to discuss?”. These questions can help to get to the root of the issue quickly and effectively. Listening actively also involves referring back to what has already been discussed. Reflection might take the form of “So, what I have heard from you is…” or “You mentioned you have seen some improvements since…”. This helps to foster a deeper understanding.

For example, say a customer is having issues with downloading a product from a website. An agent using active listening could inquire about the customer’s issue and reflect what she has heard: “It sounds like you are having trouble downloading the product from the website. Is that right?” This confirms that the customer’s issue has been heard and understood and gives the customer the space to explain further. The agent can then use this information to work out how to best to solve the customer’s problem.

Active listening is a key skill in providing great customer support. By actively listening, agents can create a positive working relationship with customers, eliminate misunderstandings and miscommunication, gain insight into the customer’s needs, and provide better solutions. This helps to reduce customer service times and keeps the customer service process running more efficiently.