Suppose a customer calls your company insisting that you should give them a ball park price over the phone. You ask questions to understand what’s going on, you try to tell them how your company does things, but they just can’t seem to let go of that need to know how much they are going to pay for this whole thing.
Ever been there before?
Of course you have! It’s one of the most difficult phone calls your call handling team takes every day. Now, consider the answer to this question: if that customer says they are going to hang up and “call you back”, what would your call handling team do in response? What is their response going to be? If you are not sure, or are making it up in your mind as you read this, you and your team need to be more prepared!
For over 100 years, the motto of the Boy Scouts of America has been “Be Prepared.” When you listen to sports radio or watch professional athletes hold press conferences, you will constantly hear them talk about their relentless preparation. When you read books on self-improvement and growing your business, you will read all about how crucial it is to be prepared for life’s big moments. In customer service, the same principle applies: be prepared, and if you are prepared, you will be confident.
Confident call teams inspire confident customers, and confident customers become loyal customers. So, how do create this confidence and preparation in your business? PRACTICE.
How often do your customer service reps practice? How often do they listen to their own calls to evaluate their performance? Do you ever sit down with your call team to give them a scenario and then walk through what their response should be?
These are important questions for you to consider as you seek to book more calls and create more WOW Experiences for your customers. So, here is a little game plan you can follow for preparing your customer service team to handle the difficult calls…
- Record their calls. You can read more here about the importance of recording your calls and how to do it.
- Set aside 20 minutes every two weeks on your calendar for each customer service rep to listen to at least two of their recorded calls from the past two weeks. Have them identify two things they did well in each call, and two opportunities in each call they found for improvement. Click here to learn about our offer to listen to 100 of your calls for free and provide you a report on conversion and quality.
- Based on the opportunities you found in their calls, spend about 10 minutes coming up with a game plan for how to be better next time, and then practice it.
- We’ll say that last part again because of how crucial it is: PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Do not assume that because you talked about it, it will magically improve. Practice the game plan with your reps. Pretend to be a customer and have them practice handling the very situation you want them to improve in. Did we mention it’s important to practice?
- When you have your customer service reps listen to calls and practice again in two weeks, follow up on your previous goals. Make it a priority to track how well they are doing by taking notes each time and monitoring their booking scores.
For some actionable tips you can give your team for improving their calls, download our FREE Pattern for Excellence Guide: The Ultimate Guide to Customer Service for Home Service Businesses below. ‘
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Some companies resist following this routine because they are busy and there is not enough time. To put things in perspective though, suppose that because you DO NOT want to practice with your team and become more prepared, your call team loses 5 calls a day simply because they are not prepared with a response for those customers. With an average ticket of $300 and 250 working days in a year, that’s $375,000 GONE. Down the drain. Left on the kitchen table. That’s $375,000 you could have if you would spend 30 minutes every other week with each of your customer service reps becoming more prepared.
And if your customer service reps truly do not have even 30 minutes every two weeks to become more prepared and confident on the phones, then perhaps it’s time to look at their responsibilities a little more closely and decide what is and is not necessary for them.
Remember… PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. Practice and you become more prepared. Become more prepared you become more confident. Become more confident and your customers become more confident.