Leaders in customer service are investing more heavily in agent success by empowering Customer Service Representatives with more autonomy. Still, passing a customer to another level often happens because the first-line CSR struggles to get the same page as the customer. The key here is to use active listening skills to improve the customer experience. Reducing the number of times that the customer must repeat themselves improves confidence in your brand—and sharpens key metrics for service teams.

Why do some CSRs miss the point of what ought to be an issue they can resolve? What are some effective listening skills to coach into your CSR teams?

Predictions—Let the customer complete their sentences. Too many times, CSRs mentally or verbally jump to a conclusion. Practice open-ended affirmations, like, “I want to help you with changing the size you just ordered from us online. Is this the only item we want to review, and is there anything else about your order, such as color or the shipping method, that you would like changed?”

Repetition—Feeding back to the customer the same words they used to describe an issue works miracles. Both the CSR and the customer build an immediate bond, sharing the problem. If the customer hasn’t accurately characterized everything (or changes their mind), repetition catches those differences before it’s too late.

Practice—Being a CSR is hard work. When coaching teams, there are creative ways to make your point. To promote active listening, have your team watch some scenes from popular comedies, like “Big Bang Theory.” Then, have them answer a few questions about miscommunications or assumptions that drove the scene. This kind of active listening exercise is fun and helps CSRs pair each type of error in listening to a memorable moment.

In an age of Artificial Intelligence and automation, when the customer calls, it is a golden opportunity to make your brand’s big bang a reality.