Assertive Listening and the Impact on Customer Service

Avatel has a publicly visible LinkedIn professional profile page. Plus we have a Facebook page, a corporate blog and convenient Twitter feeds. Most of our customer feedback, however, comes in the way of email; and in most cases, confirmation that all is well with the newly installed Avaya IP Office System.


But, in spite of the valuable customer commendations we receive, the greatest gift we can give our customers is the gift of allowing them to be heard and understood. Being able to create bridge building dialogue is fundamental in making a connection with someone. Taking a genuine interest in a person is the best way to create a positive relationship with them. Attending to our words is also just as important, as is our tone and “display” of emotion. Providing a spirit of encouragement and reassurance, along with a good dose of humility, seems to get us the best results in creating and sustaining positive relationships. These tools of friendliness help in our ability to create genuine concern.


“Everyone has an agenda. Maybe it will help if you remember that. To better understand a person involves being aware of the depth of their needs. People are like clocks. And here’s the interesting part of it: You can look them in the face and get an idea of what’s going on at the time, but the essential thing is figuring out what makes them tick.”~ Douglas Pagels, 100 Things to Always Remember…and One Thing to Never Forget (Blue Mountain Arts, 2003) page 46.

With the speed of business and the advance in technology, being able to master interpersonal skills seems more relevant in today’s workplace, especially as it relates to providing reliable and consistent customer service. Most professionals would agree that computers, cell phones and auto attendants have made significant differences in our lives and the way in which we conduct business, but the importance of being able to relate and hone our listening skills has not diminished. After all, we still do more business over the phone and via emails than we do face to face.


“You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you, they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you, a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite relaxing.” ~ John Gardner, Personal Renewal Delivered to McKinsey & Company, Phoenix, AZ November 10, 1990


Customer feedback while wearing our customer service aprons can get messy. Hearing from customers about what we did wrong, how we can do better and what went right is invaluable for improving our processes. Complaints are great because the more detailed they are, the better. They tell us where our overall experience or product is failing. Not to mention, they are the easiest form of feedback we receive. The funny thing about complaining is that no solicitation or training is required. Most people are naturally good at complaining. But, the key in understanding complaints is not to take them personally. We must pay attention to criticism as there is always some truth in the message.

Avatel Guest Blogger
Lonnie Ledford ~ Avatel Project Manager


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