Nowadays, customers aren’t just expecting the bare minimum from businesses. They don’t want to be ‘sold to’ but heard, valued, and understood. And the only way for businesses to do this is by actively listening to their customers. But doesn’t everyone actively listen when someone talks to them? No, actually, most people are only passively listening to the conversations happening around them.
So, what’s the difference?
In this article, we’ll cover what active listening is, why it’s important, and how to actively listen.
What is Active Listening?
Active listening is a soft skill where you’re attuned to what someone is saying and when you’re listening to understand, not to respond. Active listeners don’t interrupt the speaker, ask questions to show their understanding, and repeat back what was said to them.
Why is Active Listening Important?
Improves Customer Retention
Sadly, no matter how great of a CSM you are, it’s difficult to retain 100% of your customer base. In fact, research claims that 44% of customers have no plans to switch their service, whereas a whopping 83% end up leaving shortly after. So how do we go about it?
Find out what your customer’s goals are and what value they expect to receive from your product. Customers are much more likely to stick around when your product is actually making an impact in their business. And you can only get to the root of what your customer needs by actively listening to them.
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Enhances Upsell and Cross-selling Opportunities
Active listening not only improves customer retention but also acts as a tool to enhance your upselling and cross-selling opportunities to your customers. Let’s say your customers have been successfully finding value in your product and they’re starting to grow. After asking them about their next goals, you realize that they’ll need to upgrade their plan so they can continue seeing growth with your product.
Minimizes Customer Churn
This one ties into customer retention, but when you’re able to increase retention rates, you also start minimizing customer churn. And one way to do that is by actively listening to your customers so you can see what problems they’re experiencing, why, and how you can keep them satisfied and not on the brink of churning.
Paves the Way For Great Relationships
When you participate in a conversation and hear what the other person has to say, you’re halfway through to creating a meaningful relationship with your customer. And this happens because your customers want to feel heard and like you genuinely care about them and their goals. Also, when you have a great relationship with your customer, it also increases their loyalty to your brand.
How to Practice Active Listening
Now that you know why active listening is so important, let’s look at some ways you can practice it for your next customer conversation.
One way you can practice active listening is by being patient. When your customers are talking to you, don’t be quick to interrupt them and give your opinion. Or if they’re trying to collect their thoughts, give them that time, don’t try to fill in the silence.
Observe Their Body Language
A person’s body language can clue you into some things they might not be saying. So, besides listening to the words they’re saying, observe their body language too.
Summarize What Was Said
Summarizing or paraphrasing the conversation is another way you can practice active listening. Plus, by summarizing what you heard back to your customer, it helps to clear up any misinterpretations and allows all parties to be on the same page. 16
Active listening is all about paying attention and being attentive. As a successful CSM, you’ll need to understand and connect with your customers to help them reach their Desired Outcome. And ultimately, you’ll need active listening skills and empathy to accomplish that.
Simran hails from the content marketing backdrop with extensive knowledge in blogs, articles, and technical whitepapers in the non-fictional domain. She uses her ‘gift of the gab’ to explore new possibilities on her way and to make an exquisite impact on her readers. In her spare time, she likes to read journals on artificial intelligence or play with her cute kittens.
Published July 29, 2020, Updated August 24, 2022