“If you spend more time asking appropriate questions rather than giving answers or opinions, your listening skill will increase.” 

–Brian Koslow (President and CEO of Breakthrough Coaching)

Service excellence is a trait that is few and far between in today’s world; where we are used to mediocre and average service standards.  But it is always important to remember that it is excellent service and horrible service that gets discussed and shared– average service never gets talked about.  In our fast-paced world, technology allows for communication to travel faster than ever; so it is vital that service companies make a conscious effort to go the “extra mile” in order to falling the category of “the excellent.”  Going the “extra mile” requires several teachable skills including two skills that go directly hand-in-hand; listening and questioning:

-Listening Skills– Being capable of listening to client’s needs and wants is important to maintaining outstanding service excellence.  The ability to listen carefully requires developing skills in two areas:

  1.   Listening to the verbal- When a client blatantly explains what they want or when they give verbal clues as to what type of products or services they want then it is vital that a technician listen careful and take note.  Being able to provide options and services that will directly meet a client’s verbalized wants and needs will build rapport and make for a happy client who feels important.  Also by listening carefully and being sure to respond to clients’ direct needs and wants, builds a client’s trust and respect because it demonstrates that there are no hidden agendas but rather a service company that takes pride in fully caring for their customers.
  2.  Listening to the nonverbal- Having the ability to interpret facial expressions, tone of voice, and body movements can give you an external clue as to what may be going on mental and how the client is feeling about the call, product, or service.  Correctly interpreting body language can allow for a smooth transition into a close or the ability to flawlessly handle an objection. You must also be careful to respond to nonverbal communication in a humble and indirect manner because clients can feel disrespected if they think you are “putting words in their mouth.” Being attuned to clients’ body language and nonverbal communication is also important when developing listening skills but this type of listening may also require extra training and development.

-Questioning Skills– When a technician knows the right questions to ask then they automatically reduce objections, guide the presentation without being forceful, meet client needs, as well as build the value of the company and products. These are two great types of questions that can be used to build rapport as well as help a technician listen and learn about the client’s wants and needs:

  1. Technical Questions- By asking a client about the technical problems they have been experiencing gives the technician a means to better diagnosis the problem before delving into the full, hands-on diagnostic.  By asking the client these types of questions it also gives the tech a way to see how much the customer understands about the system so they can adjust their diagnostic presentation to the client’s level of technical understanding.
  2. Lifestyle Questions Lifestyle question are questions that give the technician better insight to conditions that may have played a part in causing the problem to occur in the first place.  Such as asking, “When was the last time you had your system cleaned and tuned up?” or “Do you have allergies?”  Questions such as these can help the tech know more about what the client needs or wants in a repair, add-on, or replacement as well as find out more information about the conditions placed on the system.

When careful listening and the right questions are asked and used effectively then it makes everything easier and more enjoyable during a visit for both the customer and the technician. Thank you for following our weekly Service Excellence Training posts.  Here at Service Excellence Training where we turn learning into earning! Check out our posts next week to learn more about the next two skills that help to take service excellence over the top!

-Resource curated by Whitney Stewart of Service Excellence Training.

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