Our first article on this topic, "Turn Calls Into Sales: Tips for Service-Based Businesses", covered the basics that every business must do when answering calls from prospective customers. Here, we dive into some additional details that will help boost your conversions and develop long-term customers:
Lead the Conversation
Most callers to your business will not know much about the details of the service they need, so they may not know where to begin the conversation or what questions to ask. Your business, as the experts, should help guide and lead the conversation. Anticipate that the caller may not know how to best describe a problem and be sure that your receptionists or dispatchers are knowledgeable enough that they can ask the right questions and identify the issue the caller may be having. Be sure to also provide the caller with information on what to expect – how a price will be determined, who will be arriving and when, what van or car the technician will be in, etc.
Keep a Service List and Service Area Posted for Staff
Make sure that all your dispatchers, as well as any after-hours answering service, know the zip codes and services your business covers. They should be able to quickly let the caller know whether your business can help them. Having a single source of this information, and one person in charge of keeping a list of zip codes served and services offered, helps avoid confusion amongst your team. It also decreases the chances of booking callers that need to later be cancelled, or worse, turning down callers that could have been served. Be prepared that some callers may ask if you service an area by providing a town name, county name or landmarks. Not knowing these locations reduces trust as it implies that your company is not familiar with their area.
Help Callers with Pricing Information
People inquiring about service are very often going to be price conscious. Additionally, many people calling may not have any idea at all what a particular service may end up costing. Is it $50 or $5,000? Being able to provide a price range, even if a very wide range, helps ease callers’ minds that they won’t be stuck with a bill they cannot afford. If your business provides free estimates, this is something to stress upfront so the caller knows they can book an appointment without fear of unknown charges.
Make Sure Your IVR Doesn’t Turn Callers Away
Calls that have the highest conversion rates are the ones in which a live person answers right away or the greeting is quick and to the point. Callers want to know they are contacting a real, local business with whom they can have an accessible relationship. Corporate-like IVRs and answering services can chip away at trust and confidence even before your business is able to speak with the caller. If it is not possible to change your IVR, try setting up a phone line specifically for incoming call leads. If this isn’t possible either, be sure that your IVR greeting is very brief, easy to understand, and has only one step necessary for the caller to get connected to a live person.
Proactively Pause Ad Campaigns
If your technicians are booked for several weeks, or expected to go on vacation soon, be sure to pause your campaigns so you don’t receive call leads you only end up having to turn down. You may even want to pause campaigns for only certain services and keep others active, for example, if your HVAC technicians are overbooked but you have plenty of plumbers available.
Ask If They Are Authorized
Always ask relevant questions on the call so you can be sure you don’t waste your technician’s time by creating an appointment that can never turn into a job. A very common pitfall is not asking if the caller is either the homeowner or authorized to act on behalf of the homeowner (such as a property manager). Be sure to weed out renters who have not received permission from their landlord or home buyers who don’t realize they first need permission of the current homeowner to make repairs or alterations to the home.
...But Don’t Ask Personal Questions
In an attempt to verify home ownership or avoid conflict between couples, our team has heard several businesses who ask about callers’ marital statuses or demands a spouse be home for the appointment. Not only is this very inconvenient for most families, it is also often offensive, particularly when it implies one spouse is less capable of making decisions than the other. Steer clear of asking details about the caller’s personal situation, and only after a rapport is established, ask in very general terms if anyone else needs to sign off on work being done.
Ask If They Have Any Other Questions
Always ask the caller if they have any questions for your business before ending the call. This is not only polite, but also lets the caller know that your business is attentive and willing to take the time to be sure they are comfortable with the process.
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