Of all the business courses I took in my lifetime, the one that I found most useful was a session on active listening.
In order to build customer loyalty, company associates need to build a connection and a relationship with customers. One of the best ways to show customers that you see them as a person first, customer second is to listen for their underlying emotion.
When someone contacts your company with a question or an issue, they could be disappointed, frustrated, angry, concerned, exasperated, happy, excited, or elated. By listening for and immediately acknowledging that emotion, it demonstrates to the customer that you care.
For example, if someone just purchased a new gadget and can’t get it to work, they are probably a bit frustrated. If the representative says, “Mr. Jones, I can tell you are frustrated, but I can help you resolve your problem”, it gives the customer the feeling of, “hey, this person really heard me, understands me and wants to help.” And, if you do happen to mention the incorrect emotion, the customer will most likely say, “I’m not frustrated, I’m just disappointed.” Then, the company associate can state, “I hear you are disappointed, let’s see what I can do to help you.”
This really works!
People are just as turned off by a representative who doesn’t understand their excitement. So, listening for positive emotions is just as important as listening for negative ones. If a consumer learns about a new product through word-of-mouth or an ad and actually makes a call or sends an email to find out more information, they would most likely feel an instant connection if the associate said, “You sound so excited about finding out about our new line of widgets, let me tell you more.”
Whether a consumer calls, emails or walks through your door, they are not walking robots. Listening for and acknowledging the customer’s emotion will not only create a connection and initiate a relationship, it will also show the customer they are dealing with a person and not a mechanical man/woman.
To find out more best practices for building loyalty with your customers, download Chapter 5 of The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business for free.