I’ve always been great at the talking part, but my listening skills were difficult for me to obtain. When I started my career in IT providing desktop support, it was easier to just jump on the computer to resolve an issue versus having to listen to why the issue came about. Over time I found that I was able to build a much stronger rapport with my users, either on the phone or on site, if I took the time to listen to their issues and understand how this specific problem occurred.
By taking a more active listening approach to technical support, you’re able to learn more about the user. When coupled with many other user experiences, this skill enables you to gain insight into the way people operate so you can provide better guidance and avoid future pitfalls.
Whether you’re providing support over the phone or in person, listening skills are primary to building successful relationships. In many cases, it may seem easier to just jump onto a remote session or request to sit down at the desk so that you can quickly fix the problem. While this might resolve the current issue, it doesn’t help the customer relationship or build your customer’s confidence with computers. Plus, you’re being reactive to the issue versus proactive in preventing future issues.
To better understand active listening, check out this great post from the Impact Blog. It clearly walks you through what’s most important in a customer call.
You’ll know you’re successful in technical support when you end the call or leave their desk and they actually want to call you back directly because they feel you understand their needs.