Listening Part 2

posted: Friday, October 4, 2013

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Over the past few weeks, we've taken some time to revisit some of the basics of selling and customer service. We live in the era of Twitter, Facebook and whatever the new social media outlet of the day happens to be. All of those things are great, and technology, when used correctly, can do nothing but assist salespeople in their efforts. However it does not replace the things that have been working for decades, and one of the biggest things that seems to be lacking is the art of listening.

I have a friend who recently told me a story at a graduation party and it has really stuck with me. He purchased a new car a couple of months earlier and for the most part, he was happy. The only thing that came up had nothing to do with the car but rather the interest rate.

The rate that he had agreed to and signed the paperwork on was not the rate that was listed in the final paperwork. He figured it was an oversight and went to the bank to straighten it out, but what should have taken five minutes took close to three hours.

He explained the problem to the first person of many and the response he received was, "You can't change the interest rate just because you want to." My friend said, "I'm not trying to change it; I'm just trying to get the rate that was in the initial contract." The employee again said, "The interest rate is what it is and the customer can't change it on a whim."

This process went on with two other employees of the bank before my friend got to a senior loan officer. He explained the situation again; the loan officer looked at his paperwork, compared it with what the bank had and determined there was just a simple typo. The loan officer fixed the issue in 15 seconds and everyone was happy. It's great that my friend got the issue resolved but it shouldn't have taken as long as it did. The first couple of employees could have easily fixed the situation as easily as their boss did, but they weren't listening to the words of my friend. Just remember you can't solve a customer's problem if you don't fully understand what it is, take the time to listen and understand.

You and your customer will be better off for it.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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