|Small Business Guide - Small Business Resources
(Add to Favorites | View All Articles | Resource Directory)
Secrets Revealed To Having The Most Professional Staff On The Telephone!
Do you have all the customers your business can use?
The seemingly simple task of taking phone calls is a hidden liability for not just some, but most businesses. You've invested precious dollars in advertising and marketing. You've invested time in developing customer relationships. What happens when customers call your business? Many of us would be shocked to find out the truth.
When customers call your business, how are they treated on the phone?
If your business is like most in this country you may have seen to it that your receptionist received some basic training on how your phones should be answered and how calls should be processed. But what about the rest of your staff?
Today in business you know it costs far more to get a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer.
Have you ever called a business only to be treated improperly by whoever answered the company's telephone? Most of us have had that experience when calling a business and the person answering the telephone just had bad manners.
"Hi XYZ Company" (No Name - Who answered?)
Recently my son went into the service and after not hearing from him for several weeks I placed a call to the recruit training command where he was stationed to ease my concern about his well being. Here's a recap of my call:
"Hello Perrttieoficorshweble." "Pardon me. Who am I speaking with?" I asked
Since I was concerned about my son's well being I wanted to be sure I got the name of who ever I was talking with so I asked again.
"I'm sorry I still didn't catch your name who am I speaking with?"
"This is Perrttieoficorshweble"
Three times I tried to get Petty Officer Schweeble to slow down and enunciate his name. I finally did get it.
Have you ever called a company only to have someone who had NO business answering the phone, doing so? Is that person at your business?
Another time, a client had asked me to call a subcontractor to coordinate a job our company was doing for them. When I called the phone was answered clearly.
"Hello A&A Powerline Contractors."
"Hello. This is James Bower with ABC Telecom; Mrs. Headrick from the school district asked me call and coordinate your trenching job with your new equipment installation."
"Oh! Just a minute let me see if the guy you need to speak with is here."
Immediately I was cast into silence. Was I put on hold or did I get cut off? I couldn't tell, so in the hopes that I was on hold, I HELD. And I waited. A moment later the gentleman came back on the line. Thank goodness.
"I'm sorry the guy you need to speak with isn't here. You can call him at 555-1234."
"Thank you. And who should I speak with when I call that number?" (You see he hadn't told me who I was calling for.)
"Oh! His name is Tim."
After trying to reach Tim at the number I was given and getting no answer I called back to the first guy. When he answered the phone he explained he couldn't help me, as he was only the janitor. I asked if he could take a message for Tim. He assured me he could. What I should have asked was could he take a message for Tim and see that he would get it. Because two days later I received a panicked call from Tim and Mrs. Headrick, as Tim had no idea what he was supposed to do at the job site. He had never gotten the detailed message I left for him with the janitor.
Although the first gentleman on the phone was pleasant and friendly, he actually wasn't much help and shouldn't have been answering the phones without being trained properly. If I had been calling to see if A&A Powerline could do a job for me, do you think they would be getting my business?
"So how can a business protect their most valuable asset; their customers?"
When it comes to why businesses lose customers, the perception of a staff that doesn't care ranks as the leading factor is reflected in a study by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Nearly 70 percent of those polled in the SBA study said that the perception of a non-caring staff led them to leave and buy from other businesses. This was by far the strongest response of six factors.
14 percent said product dissatisfaction ranked second. Price ranked third, with 9 percent of customers stating that as the reason they changed businesses. A friend or family member's recommendation ranked fourth, ahead of moving away, and death. The SBA's study reinforces that the way we treat our customers is a major contributor to keeping customers from leaving and taking their business to your competitors.
68% leave because of an attitude of indifference toward the customer by the business
14% are dissatisfied with the product
9% leave for competitive reasons
5% develop other friendships
3% move away
Consider the fact that the typical business only hears from about 4% of its dissatisfied customers. The other 96 percent quietly go away, and 91 percent of those will never come back.... Ever!
Did you know the average dissatisfied customer tells 8-10 others about lousy service. Twenty percent of these dissatisfied customers will tell twenty others. For the average business, it takes six times more $$$$$$ to attract new customers than it does to keep old ones. So doesn't it make sense to do everything you can to keep the customers you have?
On an average day do you know what percentage of your customers receive service over the telephone? It's not unusual to have more than 80% of customer contact over the telephone.
Take this simple test:
Do you conduct regular on going telephone training for all your staff?
Have others besides the receptionist been trained on the proper use of the phone?
Do you know where the weak links on the telephone are within your company?
Do your customers who have been handled improperly on the phones call to let you know about it?
Do you regularly call into your office to see how the phones are handled?
If you answered NO to two or more of these questions you might have a telephone etiquette problem.
How do you get these problem areas fixed?
A few simple steps will assist in fixing your staff.
Answering the Telephone has three basic parts.
1. Identify the company that has been reached. "ABC Welding..."
2. Identify the person answering the call. "This is James..."
3. Let the caller know you are there for them "How may I help you?"
I don't think you should ask "How may I Direct your call." If the person calling is looking for information; your mailing address, your fax number they now have to stop and correct you. "You can't direct my call I need your fax number."
Another key point is to have all the things you might need when answering a call. Have you ever called somewhere and the party you called for wasn't available so you were asked "Can I take a message for them?" Then as you start to leave your message the other person says " Oh, just a minute let me get a pen." or Hey! My pen just ran out of ink." Why isn't the person prepared?
Always have 2 pens and a note pad ready incase you need to take a message or notes about a call you're on. The second pen is for "Hey my pen ran out of ink." You shouldn't tell the caller that, just change pens and keep going.
Once you've taken the message repeat what you've written down to be sure you have it correct. Then assure the caller you'll get the message to the party they called for.
These are some simple tips on how to make your firm appear more professional on the telephone. The only impression a caller gets of your firm is what they hear come through the receiver.
A poorly answered telephone isn't much better than a phone that isn't answered at all.
© Bower Income and Profit Systems MMV All Rights Reserved.
James A. Bower is the Co-Founder and President of Bower Income and Profit Systems a company dedicated to enhancing business performance in many areas through tapes books and seminars. His presentations include sales, marketing, telephone skills, motivation, goal setting and achievement, telephone equipment and voice mail design and business organization for efficiency. He is an internationally recognized instructor and is the recipient of many awards in recognition of his successful efforts in assisting businesses create a more efficient environment resulting in maximum profits. He has had the opportunity to speak for groups as a large as 5000 and can get his points across to any size audience.
James has been actively addressing business issues and solving business problems for over 30 years. He is available to make presentations to company staff or for individual consultation.
Contact James at 316-773-1994 or email@example.com
Judge tells American Express it can't bully small biz - Crain's New York Business
TD Bank Small Business Pulse Check Finds 70 Percent of New York City Businesses Optimistic about 2015 Opportunities
'Small Business Basics Series' begins in March
Small Business Q&A: Peter Cosgrave, CPL Recruitment
Small Biz Breakfast on Changing Technology Trends - HamletHub
How To Get Slightly Famous in Print
Early in my career, I wrote an article for a small business magazine about self-publishing as a marketing tool for businesses. Because I specialize in helping businesses get into print, the article only took a few hours to write.
Get public relations working for your small business
It's obvious when a small business has accepted the fact that its most important outside audiences need lots of care and feeding. They do something about it.
Chamber Membership will BOOST your Business
When is the Chamber ideal for your business?Joining a Chamber of Commerce is likely the best thing any business or individual can do. Chambers provide many benefits to members.
Implementing an Internship Program
CONSIDERING COMPANY NEEDS: In identifying your needs for the internship, you need to examine the chief responsibilities of the position. And the broader they are, the more flexibility you will be giving yourself and the intern.
Small Business And The Ability To Find Market Place Opportunities
Marketing is one of the four corner-posts of a solid business. Knowing a few marketing tricks is great, but to be really successful you must be able to assess market place opportunities.
Image of Your Franchise Automotive Outlet is So Important
Image of your franchise automotive outlet is so important. Some say image is everything, well then if you buy a franchise you should be constantly thinking of image and cleanliness.
25 Valuable Phone Numbers For Small Businesses Success
Starting and growing a small business can be a daunting and sometimes lonely process we have compiled a list of 25 helpful phone numbers for agencies and services that work with small businesses. They can give you information, ideas, and resources to help you be more successful.
How to get the marketing ball rolling for your small business
The success of your business depends on your ability to build marketing momentum. Without the ability to generate new sources of leads your capacity to sell will slump and the growth of your business will stagnate or shrink.
How to Create an Employee Manual
Large corporations use employee manuals to both educate employees about policies and protect themselves legally. Whether or not you need an employee manual is your decision, though it can be a great tool for keeping your policies consistent.
Consistency Builds Trust
You know your prospects need what you sell. You know they want what you sell.
There Are No Dumb Business Questions, Not!
Q: I'm curious. What is the dumbest business question you've ever been asked? -- Norris W.
How To Ruin Your Business
If you're like the rest of us, you've spent a lot of time trying different things to make your online business come together. There are countless methods of conducting a viable marketing career, but there are also as many ways to destroy one as well.
Setting Prices - Pricing Your Consulting Services
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PRICINGIn case you hadn't noticed, people can react very differently when faced with the same price for a product or service. In fact in most cases, we'll never actually know what is in their minds when they consider a price and then decide to respond to it in certain way.
Small Businesses - Big Obstacles
Everyone is talking about small businesses. In 1993, when it was allowed, more than 90,000 new firms were registered by individuals.
Franchise Buyers from Hell
I ran a franchise company for many years, a car wash franchise, and we use to get the most ridiculous franchise buyers who thought they wanted a franchise. It seems we had to deal with these Kookoo birds because they have consumer rights and the Federal Trade Commission, which looks over franchising goes out of their way to let these consumers get away with these tall tales.
The Role of the Business Model and Strategy for Business
People will always stress that having a well researched business plan is key before you start your business. Although creating a business plan is often an important step in the evolution of a business, particularly if you need financing or you are not experienced at running a business, it is not necessarily the essential first step.
Admit your mistakes - then do not repeat them
That's right are you making enough mistakes in your business? Some of you are probably annoyed at my question; others are thinking "Geez, Rose! If I made any more mistakes I'd have to run screaming back to a day job!"If you went to school in the public school system in America, you were culturally trained to avoid and hide mistakes, after all; your teachers and professors didn't give you a great grade for your efforts unless those efforts produced great results. So, too, if you were an employee in corporate America you were rewarded for chasing perfection and penalized for making mistakes.
Specialty Advertising in C-Stores
It appears the mini-blimp indoor theme and concept is making significant headway. We have seen them in the halls of Congress sniffing for anthrax.
Look Like Sizzle, Be The Steak
You've heard marketing and advertising gurus quip, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Advertising initiatives best reach their target audience with benefits and the "wow" effect, not the value or features of their product or service.
How to Promote Your Business by Entering Contests
You are probably hard at work promoting your business (and if you're not, you should be!), but if you haven't submitted your profile to any contests yet, you may be missing a golden opportunity.Receiving an award for your business can increase your company's credibility.
|Home | Site Map | Privacy Statement | More Articles|