When someone picks up the phone to call a business they have just taken the first step toward buying.
If they lose confidence in your facility on the phone, chances are you will lose the sale. Poor phone skills could be costing you a lot more than you realize!
Many stores request that we mystery shop their stores or listen to recorded incoming calls in order to prepare training or give an evaluation of their employees performance. This is an eye-opening experience and one you should practice often.
Most receptionists and business development centers do not understand their potential to make or break a deal. Many managers do not understand the importance of continued customer relations training, let alone monitor performance in these departments. We managers generate reports to show our success and failures in most areas of the store, but the initial contact and first impression often gets over-looked!
Telephone positions require much more than a cheerful voice with a willingness to help. In fact, it is often the willingness to help that leads to sharing of misinformation. I have heard many callers hang up and move on because of bad information, poor delivery, or lack of knowledge. This all could have been avoided by taking a few steps.
First, decide which calls should be handled by whom? For example, questions about anything related to service should go to an advisor unless it is simply setting an appointment/check-in time. It is critical to provide employees with guidelines so they will know what should be passed on to more qualified personnel.
Secondly, after parameters are set, move on to the proper way to handle calls by training with word tracks and practicing scenarios.
Thirdly, listen to your staff on the phone often. Make notes and review with them the good points and gently point out the areas that could use improvement.
This training will take some time and commitment, but first impressions are so important. Can you think of anyone in your facility who has more of an opportunity to give a “WOW” first impression? Keep in mind: this position isn’t just about getting calls handled so they can answer the next one. The goal for every phone call is to get the client through the door.