How Active Listening Pertains to Taking Business Calls

How Active Listening Pertains to Taking Business Calls

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One of the keys to success in our industry is active listening. Call center personnel cannot afford the luxury of being able to take calls half-heartedly. They cannot afford to miss even one word. Active listening is a skill that every receptionist and customer service representative needs in spades.

Are you familiar with the principle of active listening? And if so, is it something your call answering team practices? Using the example of our own property management answering service, let us dissect active listening and what it looks like in a business call setting.

What It Looks Like

Active listening is hard to describe with a single word or phrase. It is a lot easier to understand if you know what it looks like. To that end, we can describe active listening by way of five key characteristics:

  1. No Distractions – Someone who practices active listening makes a point of ensuring there are no distractions during a call. Other tasks are put aside. There is no multitasking going on. Instead, all the person’s attention is on that call.
  1. Conscious Response – Active listening includes consciously responding to the caller with phrases like “I understand” and “I’ve got it.” Consciously responding forces a receptionist to pay attention. It also gives the caller assurance that the receptionist is listening.
  1. Confirmation – Active listening also includes conscious confirmation of what has been said. The agent paraphrases what the caller has said and, if necessary, requests that the caller confirm their understanding.
  1. Asking Questions – It is rare, especially in a property management scenario, to get all the information without asking questions. An active listener knows how to ask the right questions to solicit information that would otherwise not be offered.
  1. Paying Attention to CuesCallers offer all sorts of non-verbal cues that indicate state of mind and the emotional response. Active listening involves paying attention to those cues for the purpose of keeping the call positive.

Active listening is really important in the property management arena because callers do not always express themselves as well as call center personnel would like. You might have a tenant reporting a problem he doesn’t know how to describe. You might have someone calling to inquire about a property without knowing the right questions to ask.

Why It Matters

Active listening is important to business calls regardless of industry. It matters in the property management game for four reasons, the first of which is building a rapport with callers. Most of the calls that property management companies field are related to problems in need of fixes. It is important to build a positive rapport so that the tenants are not afraid to call in and report problems.

It also matters because call quality impacts resolution time. If the person answering the call can fully understand the problem at hand before that call is ended, resolution can be implemented immediately. But if it takes two or three calls back and forth, the pace of resolution is only slowed down.

Active listening also enhances customer satisfaction. Callers feel like they are being listened to and treated with respect. One of the side effects points to the fourth reason it matters: information is relayed more accurately when callers feel like contacting the office actually gets results.

Although active listening is critically important to property management companies, it is important for every kind of business. It’s something we practice in our property management call service. Likewise for our contractor, medical, and help desk answering service. If you would like to know more about how Apello can help your company, don’t be afraid to reach out.

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