How can you know what I want before you know what I know?

We live in a time of experts. Everyone is an expert, a guru, a leader, an authority. Few customer service departments practice active listening because they’re too busy asserting their authority. Have you ever encountered this? Customer service wants to exert their expertise and authority over you when you call in. They must tell you why you are calling before you can even tell them. If you object, their hand pops through the phone receiver to slap you silly and tell you how it is. Well, maybe not through the receiver, but you get the idea.

Customer service isn’t customer service when they aren’t listening. They are agitators. If I want to be agitated, I’ll jump in a washing machine.

What happened to the customer is always right? Or even, the customer knows what they want and need?

If everyone is an expert, and the experts aren’t listening, is any learning occurring? Isn’t that really the point of customer service? To listen, learn and help. I’d like to see every customer service department train their people in the concept of active listening.

One problem with learning about active listening is that in order to accept it, you have to know what it is. Which means you have to actively listen. You have to accept before you assert (even if you are an expert). It’s kind of like learning what the customer needs before telling them what want.

Kelly Hobkirk - teaching marketers how to harness strategy, goals, reality, and purpose to connect and do better work.


Kelly Hobkirk has been helping companies succeed in creative ways for nearly 25 years. His work has been featured in Time Magazine, and books by Rockport and Rotovision. Get exclusive articles when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.

Thank you! This is going to feel good.

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