Every contact a potential customer has with your plumbing business can either help to get you a sale, or result in you losing the sale. In many cases the first point of contact that a potential customer will have is with the person that answers the phone. If you want to turn that caller into a paying customer, it’s necessary to follow specific phone etiquette rules.
Here are 5 phone etiquette tips to help close the sale:
Live answer the phone during business hours
When a potential customer is having a plumbing issue, they want it resolved as quickly as possible. After all, that’s why they are calling! It’s a huge mistake to let an answering machine do the work for you. The majority of callers will simply hang up and call a different plumbing service. They want to set up an appointment ASAP and an answering machine isn’t going to do it for them. Even if the outgoing message states that you will get back to them shortly, it’s still too much time. It’s much better to have a live person answer the phone during business hours. The greeting should be welcoming and include the name of the company so that the caller knows that they are speaking with the right person. For example, “Good morning, thank you for calling XYZ Plumbing Company, how may we help you?”
Speak clearly and maintain a friendly tone
The caller should be able to understand what you are saying, so be sure to speak up and avoid mumbling. Ideally, you should use a landline to avoid the issues that sometimes are associated with cell phone service. Maintain a friendly, welcoming tone that puts a caller at ease. Smiling while speaking often helps.
Carefully listen to the issue
A potential customer is calling because they want their concern to be heard and they want you to provide them with a solution. As the caller is speaking, never interrupt. It makes the call seem rushed, and that the caller isn’t worth your time. Be focused on the caller and the caller only. Don’t type on your keyboard in the background and be sure to eliminate any distracting background noise. Never carry on a conversation with someone else in the office when you are on the phone. The caller can hear you whispering!
Don’t put callers on hold for long periods of time
There may be times when it’s necessary to put a caller on hold, either due to heavy call volume or if they have a question or concern that the person answering the phone doesn’t know how to handle. If you are going to put a caller on hold, be sure to ask them if it is OK as opposed to just doing it and thank them for allowing you to do so. If you aren’t sure how long it will take to get back to their call, it’s better to take a message and then get back to them. Ask for the best phone number and time of day to call them back.
Check and return messages promptly
It’s OK to use an answering machine after hours, but be sure to check the messages first thing in the morning and respond to the inquiry quickly. Every hour that the caller doesn’t hear back from you improves the chances that they will hire someone else to do the work.