We’re losing our ability to listen. This potential crisis threatens our relationships with our customers, organizations, families and entire nations. Here’s what we can do about it.
The art of listening is under attack.
This skill, among the most important we as humans possess, is getting drowned out from all sides: Increasing noise levels, myriad distractions, shorter attention spans and more people who just want to hear themselves talk. Continue reading →
For most of us, striking up a conversation with a stranger is difficult, and maintaining one is even harder. Use these practical tips to do better at both.
On the stress level, striking up a conversation with a stranger ranks up there with public speaking, taking your driver’s test and visiting the dentist.
Indeed, plenty of books and articles have been written on the subject. Search the words “conversation starter” in Google and you’ll get 7.5 million hits. You’ll get all kinds of advice too – from the old standbys (“So, what do you do for a living?”) to the mundane (“How are you doing?”) to the downright bizarre (“If you could teleport by blinking your eyes, where would you go right now?”)
For all their good intentions, the advice-givers tell only half the story. Firing up a conversation is important, sure, but maintaining that dialog is equally critical. How many times have you started a conversation only to quickly run out of things to say? The seemingly endless silence is deafening. Continue reading →
The right working environment makes all the difference for employees who spend time talking on the phone. Here’s how to create an environment that increases the productivity and satisfaction of your call-centric workers.
What do a private banker and a contact center agent have in common?
Both are among the legions of workers who rely on updated versions of a 19th century tool – the telephone – as an indispensable part of doing business.
The telephone is perhaps more vital to business today than ever. It enables the most powerful form of communication: conversation. In an increasingly digital world, we still want to ask questions, get instant answers, dive into the details and interact with other people. Continue reading →
Wespeak many secret languages throughout the day, without even realizing it. The jargon we use both ties us together and sets us apart. It’s important to know when, and when not, to use it.
Has this ever happened to you: Someone overhears a conversation you’ve been in and, afterwards, comments “I couldn’t understand a word you were just saying.”
It’s happened to me plenty of times.
When it does, it’s often because I was speaking marketing jargon – a language that’s unique to me and my product-management peers, yet completely different than what I speak while at home with my family, with friends or even strangers. Continue reading →
At a time when customer service calls are more complex than ever, the workers who specialize in them are more distracted than ever. Here’s why this matters to you, and what can be done about it.
Ever called a customer service number and experienced an excruciatingly long hold time? Or once you got through, the rep seemed frazzled – or often needed to consult notes or with others to find your answer?
The reasons may trace back to the employee’s work environment. Call-centric workers have long indicated that distractions in the workplace are preventing them from being as productive as they can be.
Are your voice-activated devices driving you crazy? You’re not alone. But that is about to change soon, as devices get smarter and begin to understand more languages.
I just watched a hilarious video that’s been making the rounds on YouTube for a while. In it, two businessmen are stuck in a voice-activated elevator because it won’t recognize their Scottish accents. No matter how hard they try, it won’t budge, alternately replying to each command with “Could you please repeat that?” or “Please speak slowly and clearly.” Continue reading →
In the quest to reduce costs, many organizations are automating customer service functions. But removing the human element from customer service can be bad for business. Here’s why.
I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard.
I was on the exhibition floor at Enterprise Connect Conference in Orlando in March last year, when I overheard a marketing executive proudly announce, “We’re automating 97% of our customer service functions….” Continue reading →