Successful sales and Customer Service teams understand the benefits of identifying their market and listening to their customers.  

And it’s no great mystery that great listening skills bring you closer to your customers, so organisations naturally want to employ people whose listening styles help this happen. 

Having previously been aware only of active and inactive listening, I was intrigued by the following listening styles a colleague brought to my attention. 

I thought they warranted further investigation into how they can help connect better with customers. 

Active Listening👂

It involves engaging with what you are hearing and playing it back to the speaker.

  • Encourage the speaker to feel valued.  
  • Incite them to share the vital information you need by using gestures like nodding, smiling, and making eye contact. 
  • Focus on their words and ask questions to clarify your understanding. 

Empathic Listening👂

If your conversation is sensitive, then make sure to focus on your approach and employ Empathic Listening. 

With empathic listening, you suspend your judgement and ask questions to understand the customer’s position so you can put yourself in their shoes.

Focus on listening to their answers and let them know you understand their experience. 

Making people feel understood is the foundation of long-lasting relationships built on trust.   

Compassionate Listening👂

When you apply Compassionate listening, you blend the empathic approach with a more active one.  

Where empathising was about listening to understand the customer’s position, now you want to identify an action that will help fix their problem or reduce suffering. 

An image listing listening styles: Active: Hearing, listening and reacting. Focus on Bringing clarity to thoughts. Empathic: Hearing, listening and observing. Feeling for the person. Focus on letting them know we understand their emotional experience. Compassionate: Hearing, listening and observing. Feeling for the person and wanting to help. Focus on identifying an action that will help reduce suffering

These listening styles are a fundamental part of building real relationships with your customers and supporting them in finding the right solution to their needs. 

Everyone can sell and everyone is selling. 

Customers can find a product or solution from a myriad of businesses, both online and offline. And when they’re not happy with your service, they’ll just go somewhere else. 

Building relationships takes time and skills. Some people have those skills within themselves, the rest of us can learn them. 

By training your people in learning how to listen to their customers, you’ll create a team of Brand Ambassadors who create lasting relationships that add value to your customers and bring ROI (Return in Investment) to the business. 


Since 2006, The Motivation Agency has been helping businesses create environments where people can grow, thrive, and succeed.

Our bespoke Training solutions support your team through their learning and development journeys, create value and bring tangible ROI to your business.

Beth Webb

Beth Webb

Learning Specialist and e-Learning Developer

An Electronic Engineer, Beth started her career creating technical, maintenance and operator manuals for land-based and naval radar systems at Plessey Company plc. 

Her eye for detail and ability to translate complex information into easy-to-understand and engaging content allows Beth to create courses through which users can digest and assimilate extensive concepts effortlessly.