Business phone calls: the importance of listening

Certificate II in Hospitality Studying a school-based traineeship in hospitality will teach you how to listen more effectively when receiving business phone calls.

When taking inbound calls you need to be a good listener. Do not interrupt the caller. Don’t jump to conclusions.  Avoid trying to assume that you know what the customer is going to say or to complete their sentences.  Allow the other person to get their message across. Then ask a combination of open and closed questions to clarify the caller’s needs.

Write down the caller’s name and use it in your replies. Listen to what the caller is saying. If the caller has difficulty explaining the message or request, use effective questioning skills to draw out information. Confirm your understanding and agreement with the caller by paraphrasing what they tell you. Be attentive. Over the phone, this might involve saying ‘I understand’ or ‘yes’ so that the caller knows that you are listening.

There are plenty of times when we hear what’s going on, but we are not really listening. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and suddenly realised that you do not know what he or she has just said? Active listening means that you pay attention to what the caller is telling or asking you, rather than concentrating on what you are going to say or allowing yourself to become distracted.

How should I listen?

  • Listen twice as much as you talk

  • Be empathetic and try to understand the discussion from the caller’s point of view – not your own

  • Ask questions – if you haven’t understood what has been said to you, clarify by asking questions; if you don’t comprehend it, may embarrass you later

  • Don’t interrupt, allow time for your caller to complete his or her comments

  • Concentrate – do not be distracted – focus your mind on what is being said

Undertaking a school-based traineeship in hospitality reminds you of the importance of listening as a skill when dealing with business phone calls.