Is your Phone Making you Money?

So, your Patriot Owned Business is up and running. Inventory is set, signs are outside, website is great, social media is… social; you are ready for the phone to start ringing… or are you?

How you interact with customers when they call is just as important as the steps that it took to get them to call, are you prepared? Take a look at some basic customer phone skills that every Patriot business in the should be aware of.

Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

How many had a Lionel Richie flashback! Now think about to consider how you answer your business phone. “It’s just so amazing how people answer the phone at a place of business,” quoted from Rick Brewer, small business counseling specialist; “it blew me away when people answer the phone like they’re talking to their spouse or best friend with a hello, what’s up attitude.”

Even in the digital age, the phone is your single greatest marketing tool and line of communication for your customers. If not used correctly, it can cost you a sale without the customer even stepping foot in your Patriot Owned Business. Here are some simple, easy to follow guidelines when answering the phone to go over your team with:

  1. Before you answer the phone, pause… collect yourself and answer the phone line calmly and confidently. When you answer a phone in a frustrated or hurried tone the customer can pick up on that.
  2. Identify the name of the business and YOUR name. This helps establish a personal connection with the customer and makes them feel more at ease.
  3. “I can help you” not “how can I help you”. Let your customer know by this simple phrasing that you are the person that can take care of their inquiry. Industries with the highest customer satisfaction scores have incorporated this simple phrase report the highest customer satisfaction indexes in their industry. (examples: Lexus and Honda)
  4. Ask their permission if you need to place them on hold. At the end of the day it’s about treating your customer with a level of respect. We’ve all been on the phone with the “call center mentality”… How did that make you feel? Just like a number right? Well think of the impression that will make when you asked them: “Would you mind if I place you on hold for just a moment, I promise I’ll be right back”.
  5. Never leave them on hold for more than 30 seconds. While it may take more than 30 seconds for you to find the answer to their question, you should check back with them every 30 seconds to let them know that you are working on the solution.

This next phone answering tip brings us to our next category:

Ask For The Sale!

The phone for your business should never be treated like a triage helpline. This is the mindset of helping the customer answer a question fast enough to free up time for the next caller. Your team must appreciate that the person that is on the phone is currently your single most important customer at that very moment.

If you have answered their question in a satisfactory manner, ask them when they might come in? Or ask if you can hold the product? Agree to a time or book an appointment? Look for some level of commitment that will help encourage the customer to follow through and come do business with you.

Many auto parts retailers will offer an incentive to hold a product for their customers, further reinforcing the opportunity for the customer to come in. With competition for many retail and service level businesses, asking for the sale may be that one technique that keeps them from calling your competition.

A Little Bit Goes a Long Way

We all know about overhead, employees cost money. However, not having enough employees to properly give your customers the time and respect that they need will cost you much more. By empowering your team to take that little extra time to properly care for your customers over the phone, will project a quality mindset that will extend into the store. This type of one-on-one sales/service approach is echoed in those companies that consistently identify with the highest customer satisfaction scores in their industries.

Author Note: Customer service will become the main reason why people frequent a business. Post Covid customer service, lowering of expectation and task oriented lackluster employees will make a customer friendly business stand out. People will GLADLY pay a little more for a better shopping experience. Remember my fellow business owners, you are paying your employee as a representative of your company. This means the MUST respect and identify with your company standards and methods for the appropriate treatment of your customers. To lower that standard to get a warm body to fill the need, may help in the short run; but will cost you much more in the long run.

Your management team should regularly observe, test and train employees on proper telephone etiquette and sales tactics. This will help to ensure that they are adhering to your guidelines. If an employee has an inappropriate attitude or is unwilling to adhere to established guidelines, then this individual is costing you more than an hourly wage; they may be costing you a sale and a potential long-term customer. Patriot Owned Businesses can’t afford that.

Websites by Patriots Award Winning Customer Service

Let’s face it, website developers are not known for their customer service. It’s the call most people even dread to make. Websites by Patriots has worked hard to have a knowledgeable team that can also provide the customer attention and support that customers deserve. So much to the point that the parent company has earned the highest marks in customer service through Angie’s List for 10 years straight! Need a website? Give us a call and experience the difference.