Sales & Service: Listen for Customer Cares

Obviously, in sales and customer service, listening is critical to success. Not so obvious is how to listen for customer cares when your mind is processing your own perspective.

What’s in it for you to work on this? Sales & service fail when you don’t address customer cares. Moreover, customers even select higher priced products and services when you show them you get what they care about.

Sales & Customer Service: Listen for Customer Cares

Winning Ways to Listen for Customer Cares

  1. Hear the story as well as the details. If you are highly analytic, you may naturally listen for details. You may miss important customer cares because they emerge as the sum of the details. Do you listen for the whole point of the story?
    Winning way: If this is your listening challenge, say to the customer “I hear these details (a. b. c. …). If we put this together, what does it say about your key interest or concern?” It shows the customer you listen & you care!
  2. Accept the obvious. Often customers are clearly stating their preferences. When it represents a challenge to what you want or can deliver, do you respond with what’s on your mind?
    Winning way: Paraphrase the customer’s preference then respond. If you do this consistently, you will listen better, sell more, and serve well. You and the customers will connect with mutual success.
  3. Be excellent instead of right. Working with others, especially with customers, is first about excellence in connecting. It is the nexus of trust. Successful results come from excellent connections not from you pressing your points at the start. Once you are connected to the customers’ cares, they are more capable of hearing your perspective and valuable ideas.
    Winning way: Respect the differences, learn to love the differences, find the fit. One key step: Spot and Adapt to Personality Types.

Success in sales & service is within your easy reach if you reach outside your own perspective. Staying inside your own zone of communication style, knowledge, and control keeps you comfortably disconnected — from success. Think about it …

Yours in service,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

What is your best listening skills tip? Please share your people-skills experience in the comments field below.

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. For permission to re-post or republish, please email Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, has amassed 21 years of stellar results with corporate customers turning interpersonal obstacles into business success. Her energy is legendary, her insight objective, and her results tangible. See this site for info about her keynotes, workshops, and dvds.

4 Responses to “Sales & Service: Listen for Customer Cares”

  1. Kate – I love the comment ‘be excellent instead of right’.
    As for paraphrasing, I think everyone needs to be a little careful. Paraphrasing is not serving.
    In call centres, people are correctly trained to paraphrase, but it should be used only as appropriate. A service agent does not need to paraphrase the basics of the call.
    “So you are calling about a service issue with your cable” FAIL
    “So your name is Steven?” FAIL
    After thanks them for fixing my problem, they don’t need to say “So are you confident your problem was resolved?” FAIL
    Paraphrasing is important, but it is not service.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Steven –
      What you describe is not paraphrasing nor appropriate. It is parroting that comes from a script. And yes it is … a killer!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Steve Chihos says:

    Kate, Another great post! I like the way you shift the focus of the entire interaction toward the customer’s needs and away from the service provider’s self-interest… -Steve

  3. Bang on Kate. Listening has two very positive affects.
    1) You’ll better understand the wants and needs of your customers and how to address them.
    and 2nd and most important:
    2) Your customers will have communicated with you and felt they’ve been heard. Most issues are easily resolved when the those with the complaint can just get their frustration off their chest.
    Don’t get in the way of your own customer service success. Listen.

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