I’m sure you’ve all been there; that moment where you’re on the phone to a call centre trying to get through to the right person, amend a policy, or claim through your insurance and the frustration starts to set in. You’ve given your details more times than you can remember up to the point where you almost forget what you were really calling for. And all the while you’re talking to someone who, albeit better than the initial computer you’ve had to speak to, is clearly reading from a script and subsequently unable to really answer your queries.
The reason I write this is I’m currently listening to a colleague have a similar conversation, with those in his general proximity sniggering at his increasingly angry tone. And this got me thinking. What’s clear to me from this side of the phone is that the call centre employee in question is certainly not a very good communicator simply because they are not listening.
It’s easy enough to assume we are good at conversing because we talk a lot, share umpteen posts on social media or have mountains of emails in our outbox. But I truly think we’re forgetting that communication is a two way process and we can only be a great conversationalist if we listen. You just have to look at the number of push messages on Twitter feeds to see that all many people do is talk at others.
But where’s the conversation? Where’s the engagement? And as a result, where’s the value?!
In fact, I heard a rather interesting perspective on this from an unusual source: comedian Miranda Hart when she starred in the popular Bear Grylls survival TV series, “We’re all ‘communicating’ all the time on email, Twitter and text, but we are not really communicating at all. I’ve suddenly found that I don’t really know people like I used to know them. Everyone’s so busy … and there’s this constant noise, and you think you’re in communication, but actually you’re not.”