What is the most important skill people need for providing the best service? This question comes up from time to time, particularly when times are busy and business owners and managers are looking for quick and easy solutions. It seems there is never an end to those searching for the magic bullet for service excellence. And although I believe being proactively helpful by providing service before being asked is indeed magical and can make service noteworthy, I firmly believe there is one skill that is absolutely necessary for any great service interaction and that skill is listening.
So, why listening? What are the big benefits?
Here is a short list. For starters, it keeps you from saying something stupid that will wreck anything good that’s happened so far. Second, it sends a message to the speaker that they are important and have status. Third, it allows you to get an idea of all of the details of a situation so you can make the best recommendations. And last, it can calm tense situations due to the space it affords.
So, asks the business leader/manager, what do I tell my team members? It’s simple, tell them to stop talking so much and listen. Tell them to take time, get rid of distractions like phones and any other busy-ness and focus on the other person. Tell them to not only hear the words but to hear the meaning in the words. Tell them to listen hard enough to be able to repeat back what the other person is saying.
While there may be no magic bullet, listening might be the closest skill or tool that outclasses all others for providing an excellent service interaction. Yes, I know, there are so many other things but this one skill can solve many challenges. It can provide the tonic to soothe the rattled nerves, it can open doors to creating better relationships, it can provide good information, and it can make you stand out in a world where so many are distracted and indifferent. And these are only a few of the benefits.
Want your operation to deliver a better service experience? Then get listening.