8 Things That Make You A Bad Listener [Slideshow]

Bad ListenerHow much of a good listener do you think you are? Most people believe they’re good at listening, but in reality, good listeners are rare which is why whenever you come across one, it makes that person a joy to communicate with, especially when you are a customer trying to explain that delicate issue or solicit advice from a company representative.

Are you listening or hearing, or just waiting to speak? In this post rather than tell you what makes a good listener, we will share the tell-tale signs that you are a bad listener. Here are 8 signs that you need to improve your listening game

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses.
He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed.
The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services.
He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?”
The operator says “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”
There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard.
Back on the phone, the guy says “OK, now what?”

Sometimes when you fail to listen actively, you end up hearing the words without getting the real message. You would believe that you know what’s being said and then jump to erroneous conclusions.

Don’t be a bad listener. Learn how to listen actively, doing so would improve the relationship you have with both colleagues and customers as you understand them better, and offer more meaningful responses to your interaction.

Published by

Kelechi Okeke

Kelechi Okeke is a Customer Experience Analyst in a leading financial institution in sub-Saharan African. He helps businesses develop strategies that improve customer loyalty and enhance profitability. He is also a customer service trainer, content developer and graphic designer

4 thoughts on “8 Things That Make You A Bad Listener [Slideshow]”

  1. I appreciate the article and the slideshow which has some good information. In a customer service context, I do think that slide #1 that states a person may consider themselves to have poor listening skills if they have to ask a customer to repeat themselves, is unfair to the customer service representative. For example, if a customer is asked for their Social Security Num. so that an account can be pulled up, and the customer gives it VERY quickly, or not clearly (or their voice “fades lower” while giving the last 4 digits), it will not be clearly heard by the representative. Factor in external noise from other conversations around them, variability in the clarity of phone calls, as well as any hearing deficits the representative may have, along with working with sub-optimal equipment.
    I listen VERY well, but it’s more often that customers do not listen to ME, or interrupt me. I listen and then I ask for clarification if I’m understanding the customer correctly – this is GOOD listening, so that we can move forward to a “plan of action” for the customer.
    Also, there is too often a perception that the customer is superior and customer service rep is “inferior” or why would he or she be doing customer service. THAT is unfair, and both customers and businesses entities and organizations are responsible for that perception. Often, customer service representatives also need to be better trained, and given access to more information than they have, so that they can be truly empowered to solve problems and get things done.
    Organizations want to take credit for being outstanding customer service organizations, but still want to run on autocratic policies where all the information is “silo” protected by just a few people. This occurs often in government organizations – it’s called “protectionism” – it’s an organization running on an old and very outdated model of management.

    1. Thank you for sharing your insights, Daryl.
      I agree that sometimes you might have to ask a customer to repeat themselves due to inaudibility. That’s totally ok.
      Asking them to repeat the last 30% of what they just said because of inattentiveness is bad.
      Also, silo mentality in organizations will eventually give way to cross-collaboration as more businesses adopt a customer-centric culture. This might take some time to happen but by the time it does, any organization(s) still wallowing in ‘protectionism’ will struggle to stay in business.

      PS: Don’t ever believe that a customer service rep is inferior in any way. It takes a very special kind of person to excel in a customer service role, to put aside their needs (and emotions) in the service of others. Customer service reps are the Heroes you don’t get to hear about 🙂

  2. Listening is a mind set up or readiness on focusing to a certain action. Not listening could be lack of concentration; or destruction of thoughts because of different reasons. Correlation of mind and thoughts, plus interest helping to listening and to focus attentively. I remember, as a child we used to send to neighbors or friends with a piece of message; and our parents warn us in advance: to listen to the message carefully so that we should not forget it. Listening is requiring attention and habit as well.

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