Can You Keep Quiet Longer Than 18 Seconds?

Can You Keep Quiet Longer Than 18 Seconds?

Providing excellent customer service starts with how well we listen and manage customer expectations. The highest form of respect we can show another person is genuinely listening and giving them our undivided attention. However, the listener also benefits dramatically, because it is only when we are listening that we learn, that new ideas arise, and that solutions are realized. Listening needs to be something we practice daily. There may be no better ROI.

Jerome Groopman, a physician, and Harvard medical school professor, wrote How Doctors Think. He asserts that the key to collecting useful information and solving the patient’s health puzzle is to let the patient say her or his piece. However, Groopman cites research that demonstrates doctors repeatedly interrupt the patient presenting their symptoms after just 18 seconds. Why? Because the average doctor (or consultant, lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor) feels he knows what the patient/client is going to say and is ready to give a professional recommendation before allowing the patient to finish explaining their problem.

*Order The Relationship Economy, Building Stronger Customer Connections In The Digital Age

Hijacking someone’s story or stepping on their message is a horrible habit that demonstrates a conversation is more about us than the person we are communicating with. Often, we do this by completing the other person’s thought. While we may think we are demonstrating that we are paying attention, the practice is rude; we are not allowing the other person to feel completely heard.

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”



*Related – Myths Of Being A Good Listener

Why Some Customers Need To Speak To A Human Being

Consider you are waiting for medical test results. Or you are anxiously waiting to hear if you got approved for your home mortgage or a critical loan your business needs to help with a shortage of cashflow. Certain organizations and industries have higher anxiety customers, at no fault of the customer. By not putting yourself in the shoes of your customer, it can lead to poor decisions that seem highly efficient but totally unempathetic to your customer. An article in HBR demonstrates how these types of companies are ‘funneling nervous customers to self-service technologies – kiosks, websites, and smartphone apps – isolating them at the precise moment when they’re most keen for connection.’

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About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.