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I’m in the midst of a plumbing project. You probably know that most plumbing projects require three trips to the hardware store. I’m on my first trip. I’m holding a part which I’m trying to install to show the clerk what I’m trying to do. A second clerk walks up right in the middle of our conversation, looks at the part I’m holding, interrupts our conversation without listening and says, “We don’t carry that. I don’t even know what it is and you’re not going to find it in any hardware store.” I was dumbfounded! He didn’t have a clue why I was in the store, he knew nothing about the part I was holding and he made totally inaccurate assumptions about why I was in the store. Not only that, but he gave inaccurate information to me, the customer. I lost confidence in him and his ability to help with my problem. I left and went to a different hardware store. His store lost a small sale that night and, more importantly, they lost their reputation and any future business from me. Yes, I’m being harsh and that’s also how our customers and end users are with us.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

When we fail to listen carefully to their computer problems, when we jump to conclusions about their software issues, and when we give inaccurate information, we lose their confidence and we lose their trust.

Listening is Key!

The key to being a good listener is to listen! Ask open-ended questions to gain a full understanding of the issues and say little until you fully understand the situation from the end user’s or customer’s perspective. You may have the knowledge to solve problems. Do you have the wisdom to listen to find out what the problem is?

It’s All About Listening to the Customer

Listening well is one of the five principles of IT customer service. When we listen, truly listen, to our customers and end users, to our colleagues, and everyone else, we learn valuable information to help us solve current problems and head off future problems. The Dalai Lama said it well, “When we talk, we only hear what we already know.” Remember, it’s all about the customer. It’s not about you. Stop talking and hone your listening skills to be an IT customer service master.

Learn How to Be a Better Listener

Build better relationships, both at work and in your personal life. Gain the respect of the people around you by becoming a better listener.

Become wiser by improving your listening skills.

Take my online, on-demand training The Fine Art of Listening Well: How to Be a Better Listener. Check out the course outline and description here.

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