Whether you run a plumbing business or an auto repair shop, your product is your service. When someone calls your business, it is similar to shopping in a store for a product. Your phone etiquette is your product's store display and can determine whether your business thrives or languishes.
We listen to thousands and thousands of phone calls every week here at Goodzer. Some of the calls we hear are inspiring and should be held up as an example of the best practice when speaking to callers. Other recordings we hear are shocking in terms of the lack of effort to sell the caller, and occasionally, even rude behavior that completely turns off potential customers.
Here are some of the best and worst examples that you should consider when implementing your own sales processes:
When someone calls your business, it's typically a chore on their to-do list. A cheerful and friendly voice makes that chore so much easier and naturally softens the caller, creating a connection and inclination to hire your business. It also makes your business sound professional and lets the caller know that you care about your customers and providing good service. The best calls we hear are those answered by cheerful and kind business employees who keep that demeanor from beginning to end of the call.
Treating every call as equal
Some of the best calls we have heard are ones in which the caller just simply wants advice, and the business willingly provides it. At Goodzer, we don't charge for do-it-yourself advice calls, but they can certainly still take up your valuable time. Instead of thinking of these calls as waste, however, remember that these callers live in your community and are likely to need your services in the future. Even better, they are likely to tell others about your business and the services you provide. Every interaction you make, even if it doesn't lead to an immediate sale, is a promotion for your business.
When a caller asks you about your services, this is your time to show off how knowledgeable your business is and emphasize why they should hire you over competitors. The best calls are those in which the business readily identifies the caller's needs, thoroughly answers questions, and lets the caller know how much experience their business has. The more you come across as an expert in your field, the more likely you are to be hired and referred to others.
Being too casual
When a business answers with only "hello" and not the business name and a "how can I help you?", callers are immediately confused, thinking they called a wrong number or someone's private line. Similarly, when a caller asks you questions about your business or states their problem, offer professional, concise suggestions as to what service you can offer and what the next steps are. Speaking to callers as though you are too busy to talk or uninterested in providing details will make the caller feel as though you are not a professional and hiring you would be a bad decision.
Never answering the phone
Callers who are ready to purchase a service are unlikely to wait for you to call back before they move onto the next business who will book the appointment immediately. Too many times we run across businesses that never answer the phone and simply take voice messages instead. Not only will you lose business by not answering the phones, but you also may end up paying more if those missed calls came from lead sources. So be sure that someone can always answer the phones for your business!
Scolding the caller
By far the worst calls we hear are the ones in which a business openly scolds, and even yells, at a caller for taking their time, costing them money by calling, or calling them for something they don't do. This should never, ever happen. If you are having a bad day or there is no one else available to answer your phone calls, it is far better to turn off incoming calls for the day than to treat callers rudely. Not only will you never win that caller's business, but you can be sure they will let others know not to hire you as well. The simple solution here is to just simply not behave this way.
These are just some examples of what works and what doesn't. It pays to listen to your own business's call recordings every so often to see what works and what can be improved upon. By constantly striving to provide better phone service, you will help your business grow and gain long-term clients.