15 May 2017 | Six key tips to help improve your listening skills in line with Anchorpoint's value of the month: Listen Intently.
Each month we take a value from our company values and explore it a bit further. This month we're taking one of our core values - "Listen Intently", and pulling it apart to find out what it really means to us.
Anchorpoint Value of the Month - Listen Intently
Communication is one of the most important skills required in any business. We spend years of training on how to read, write and speak, but can you say the same about listening? Have you been trained how to listen intently so you truly, genuinely understand your customers?
Understanding our customers' needs is core to our business, as without this, we cannot possibly deliver the best work. So we don't just hear people, we listen intently and try to understand them. Doing so will strengthen our relationships and services.
As a company that prides itself on delivering the very highest of standards of customer service, we would not have customers with us for more than 10 years without listening to them.
Without opening our ears and digesting the information they impart, and sometimes the information they don't, we would not have been able to be flexible enough and creative enough to provide the right solutions for them.
Our tips for Listening Intently...
- Give your full attention. You must focus on listening to understand the customer rather than to respond. As Stephen Covey's 5th habit of highly effective people states, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood".
- Listen with your ears and eyes. Studies show that 55% of communication is made up of body language. It is therefore important to be aware of the speaker's body language so you can read their emotional state. The words (7% of communication) tell you the content of the message, but only your eyes can give you the important information - how they are feeling.
- Repeat it back. The more senses you use the more likely you are to remember something. When a client or prospect is speaking to you, repeat back to them what they've said at important points so they understand you've got the detail. It also imprints it in your mind using your own voice as well as your ears.
- Question, question and question again. Keep asking questions until you get to the crux of the matter. By doing this you can uncover the real reason behind decisions and deliver more appropriate solutions. Sometimes even surprising the client or prospect as to what the real reasons are themselves.
- Read between the lines. The hardest skill, but can lead to the biggest gains. What a client or prospect doesn't say can be just as, if not more important than what they do.
- Keep a record. Not everyone will be happy to have a conversation recorded so accurate written notes are a must if you're chatting to a client or prospect.