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Do you remember how good the food was at a restaurant if the service was terrible? More importantly, would you go back and endure terrible service just for the food? If you are like me, meals always taste better when accompanied by great service. A big part of offering great service in any industry involves the art of “listening to understand” as opposed to “listening to respond”. There is certainly a big difference between the two.

Listening is a key component in all facets of our lives and careers. If we all took a little more time to listen, we may learn what the people close to us truly want and desire. Of course, you may say, “no kidding Mike!” I am not trying to be simplistic; rather I am trying to focus on the importance of where service starts.

For instance, we at HSA realize that our people cannot simply regurgitate the same canned script from client to client because when you are listening to understand rather than listening to respond, you get to hear the unique needs of every customer which requires a personalized response. Knowing the needs of the customer, while being honest about how you measure up to those needs, is the key to service excellence.

Sometimes that means you must be prepared to hear something you may not like, including criticism. In today’s tech-driven world, you can’t just listen to your customers on the phone. You have to listen to them everywhere they are talking, whether it’s the phone, email or social media. This helps create transparency in a world where, too often, the client is lost in a continuous telephone loop of automated responses.

It’s all about transparency. In fact, I was recently reviewing emails and came across a complaint from a customer where we did not deliver the proper service. While we, at HSA, strive for best in class service, it is impossible to be perfect. However, we have the courage to step up and admit when haven’t performed up to our standards and do what it takes to make the customer happy. In this case the customer was told we made a mistake and we worked with them to make things right. Even though over the same timeframe, we paid thousands of claims properly and provided wonderful customer service to those clients, we know that when service goes bad, customers don’t want to be told they are within statistical satisfactory service norms. Each customer’s situation is unique and needs to be treated as such.

By listening to “understand” your clients, you will always be moving closer to providing the best service possible. Why…because service matters.

Mike Clear is Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at HSA Home Warranty.

For more information on HSA Home Warranty visit