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Call Center Listening Skills & Barriers to Listening

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  • 0:03 Listening in Call Centers
  • 0:20 Personal Listening Styles
  • 1:24 Non-Verbal Cues
  • 2:15 Barriers to Effective…
  • 4:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Because communication at call centers happens over the telephone, it is critical to have the skills to listen effectively and remove the barriers that may prevent this from happening. Use the information in this lesson to understand listening issues in call centers.

Listening in Call Centers

Call centers workers are dedicated to answering customers' telephone calls and resolving their issues. While it can be effective to have undivided, focused attention while receiving telephone calls, there are some other issues that can get in the way of listening in a call center. Let's take a look.

Personal Listening Styles

There are four main styles of listening:

  • People-focused: the telephone representative demonstrates a concern for people, their problems, and their needs. Using this style shows compassion and empathy.

  • Content-focused: the listener focuses on the message and words being expressed rather than the feeling or emotion of the caller. This style analyzes the actual words and phrases.

  • Action-focused: the listener creates a plan or considers what needs to be done because of the call. This style is focuses on activities and solutions.

  • Time-focused: this relies on the length of call or time needed to answer the phone call. As a result, the call center employee typically wants to get off the phone as quickly as possible.

Call center professionals are required to be flexible and meet the needs of each caller. This means they must listen and be able to understand the caller's needs, demonstrate patience when the caller expresses frustration or aggravation, and offer solutions. By balancing the four styles of listening, they can help a caller feel understood and get a resolution during the interaction.

Non-Verbal Cues

Call center representatives are typically skilled at picking up on non-verbal cues, such as talking speed, volume, and tone of voice. If callers are speaking fast, loudly, and in an angry tone, it's quickly understood that they are frustrated and have an unresolved issue they need help with.

When they get a call like this, call center reps increase their patience and are ready to jump in and help the customer. They quickly understand the issues by asking the right questions and offering effective solutions.

Listen for other non-verbal cues can indicate the caller's emotional state. Are you hearing them sigh? That can be a sign of increasing frustration. Or maybe your are beginning to hear grunts of approval, a reluctant but encouraging sound as you begin to resolve the issue. Reading these subtleties can make a big difference in the overall conversation.

Barriers to Effective Listening

Be aware of barriers to effective listening that can affect your service:

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