Listen, Ask, Listen Again

The words in the title of this piece are part of key training skills Delta Airlines is using to send 11,000 agents back to school, according to a recent article in the Wall Street JournalAnother  training skill  stressed is "be there."  This is another way of saying, pay attention to your customer!  Why are these skills being taught?  Because among major airlines this past year, Delta had the highest rate of customer complaints. 

            One of the points I stress in each listening seminar and in my keynote, “Be Present When You Are Present,” is the importance of listening and paying attention to the bottom line in any situation.  Many companies have similar products and cost.  The competitive edge, as Delta knows, is that customer service is based on these people skills of listening and attention.  On my website, I even offer wallet cards with reminders of “How to Keep Listening Instead of Talking.”

            If these skills are at the crux of profit and loss in a company, think how important listening and attention are in day-to-day living!  As Henry David Thoreau said, "The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought and attended to my answer." 

Steve Boyd
Steve Boyd
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. Steve won the Toastmasters International Speech Contest in 1970 and was chosen Outstanding Professor of the Year at NKU in 1984, among other awards and honors. Since retiring, he volunteers with nonprofits, spends time with family, travels, preaches occasionally, and enjoys reading and writing. Contact Steve at (859) 866-5693 or at

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