In this video, practice active listening to uncover your internal customers' needs. Develop skills you can use in face-to-face, telephone, and email conversations.
- People aren't always great at sharing their needs. That means active listening skills are critical to uncovering what our coworkers really want, so we can provide the best service possible. Let's look at a conversation between Janice, the office manager, and Alicia, the sales manager. See if you can identify the listening techniques that Janice uses to discover Alicia's needs. - Hey, Janice, do you have a minute? - Sure, what's going on? - So, I have three new hires on Monday and I wanted to see if you could give them a tour of the office and maybe help them set up their workstations? - Of course, what time are they scheduled to arrive? - They should be at HR around 9:00 am filling out paperwork and starting their orientation.
My guess is they'll be here around 12:30. I just hope the orientation doesn't take too long. - Are you worried that paperwork in orientation won't make a great first impression? - Yeah, I want my new salespeople to feel excited about joining the team. - That makes sense. How about a team lunch? - That's a good idea. And then the new employees can meet everybody. - Okay, I'll email HR and confirm when orientation finishes, so we'll know when the new folks get here. I'll get the food ordered, and then, after lunch, I can show the new people around and get them set up at their desks.
- That sounds great, thank you, Janice. - So, what listening skills did you see Janice use? Here are a few. Janice started the interaction by concentrating on Alicia and putting her phone away to remove distractions. She also used what's called attending body language by positioning her body to face Alicia, so it was easier to listen. Janice asked clarifying questions to get a better understanding of Alicia's needs, and she paid careful attention to listen for any underlying emotions.
In this case, Janice sensed that Alicia was worried about making a good first impression for her new hires. Finally, Janice paraphrased the discussion to confirm that she understood everything. Many of these listening techniques still work well, even when you're on the phone. Try to use the same body language you would use if the person was right in front of you. This will naturally create a positive tone of voice and make it easier to listen. While email doesn't involve listening per say, it's still important to use similar skills.
For instance, it's helpful to slow down a little and concentrate on understanding what the other person is really trying to say. When you do this, you'll often pick up on additional meaning that you'd miss if you were just quickly scanning the message. Here's an activity you can try to practice your listening skills. Download the Listening Skills worksheet from the exercise files. Practice active listening in five face-to-face, phone, or email conversations. Use the worksheet to self-evaluate the skills you used at the end of each one.
Make notes on what you did well and what you'd like to improve. The more you practice, the better you'll be at listening to your internal customers.
In this course, learn skills and techniques for providing outstanding internal customer service to colleagues within your organization. Jeff Toister shares how to build positive workplace relationships, communicate effectively, and serve coworkers who can be difficult to work with. He also provides techniques for managing—and exceeding—expectations for internal service, and solving problems quickly and effectively.
- Distinguishing between internal and external customer service
- Creating positive workplace relationships
- Working with difficult coworkers
- Practicing active listening to uncover your customers' needs
- Managing internal customer expectations
- Anticipating problems
- Defusing angry colleagues
- Adjusting your workplace attitude