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You Say You Have Awesome Service…Does it Show Up on The Phone?

Every single touch point in your business is an opportunity to wow, or not, your customers…

In a competitive business world, (when is it ever not?), often the only way to rise above the crowd and risk being a tall poppy is through awesome service.

Yes, all businesses must DO great work, yet how they deliver that work, the way they present it to you, if you will, is the fulcrum point, the centre of gravity on which all else rests in your business.

In fact, I would assert – because how you do one thing is how you do everything – that awesome service practiced with rigorous performance standards will elevate the technical work of your business.

Said another way, if you have extraordinary service in, say a restaurant, with hyper-clean bathrooms, tables, floors, and so on, then it is unlikely you will walk in the kitchen and see a dirty mess.

How You Do One Thing is How You Do Everything

How you do one thing – clean bathrooms – is how you do everything.

This translates to the phone…

How you talk to your Team on the phone is likely how you are with your clients.

Or is it?

Are you gruff, abrupt, curt with Team members, and gushy and sweet with customers when they call?

Ok, better hope they are not listening when you are on an internal call then.

I am really surprised at how few businesses get that the phone is one of the most frequent contact points for your business, especially in today’s virtual world, where it is often the only point of contact.

What happens when you call your own business?

Is the phone answered on the second ring? (First ring is too abrupt for most, on the 3rd ring impatience is kicking in…)

If not, why not?

How is someone greeted on the phone when a customer/prospect calls?

Do you have a script? “Good afternoon/morning, ABC Company, this is Mary Jones, how may I help you?”

How does the call end?

On a high? Do you say, something like, “thank you for calling, have a wonderful day!”

Who hangs up first?

Always hang up last. Why? For that 1/5 times where the customer says, “oh, one more thing!”. And you are right there waiting for them…

Also, better that you get the hang-up clunk in your ear, than them. Again, always leave them on a high.

Customers in the Store Versus on Phone

People in line at your store take precedence over people just phoning, right?

Wrong.

Let’s say you are a computer store selling high-end computer systems, and some parts too.

The fellow in your store is looking for a $6 USB cable, and wants to know all the different makes and sizes, and after spending 30 minutes with your sales clerk decides to leave and order on Amazon for $4!

Meanwhile the clerk ignored the phone (person hung up after 12 rings, which shows amazing patience, most of us will hang up after 3-4 rings). The person on the phone was interested in talking about a high-end computer system for her business that she was budgeting $50,000 for and had a few questions to ask before coming in.

I admit my example is extreme, yet I bet most of you reading this have had similar experiences of calling to ask about a high-end, expensive item (maybe to find out if it is in stock), only to be treated with total indifference on the phone! Perhaps ignored completely or left on hold while they serve the “real” customers at the till.

Ok, so what happens if your Team is serving customers in the store and the phone rings?

Easy, you look the person in the eye you are serving and ask if they mind if you take that call and you will only be 30 seconds.

You take the call, answer with a grin and a script, “good afternoon, ABC Company, this is John Smith, how may I help you…”

Then very quickly say this, “I am just finishing serving a customer in the store, would you mind if I place you on hold for a brief 1-2 minutes?”

Buzz for help if you can, or quickly serve the customer and get back to the phone.

You may need to hire more people if you get a lot of calls, or walk-ins to deal with this if it persists.

Poor Service in Stores

In many stores these days the service is so bad that you don’t get service either on-the-phone or in-the-store!

A couple of weeks ago I came back to Vancouver from Salt Spring Island, and I usually am very careful when I pack up my laptop, second monitor and all the little cords that join it all together in road-warrior fashion.

This time I forgot one small simple cord.

No problem, I will go to Staples and see if they have one – good service from the young man in the electronics section, but no such animal in the store.

Ok, no problem let’s try 2 other well known big box retailers (I won’t mention who). Nope, no cord, no service, no care.

So, after spending hours really trying to buy local, I went home and late Saturday ordered the item on Amazon (for 25% the price), and it was delivered to my door on Monday at noon!

In fact, at one retailer (a big one too) there is just no one on the floor to serve people. Like no one! I even asked a customer who looked like he could work there for help!

One clerk I finally found was stocking shelves and with total indifference barely even pointed the approximate direction of the item I was looking for. He mumbled the aisle number and I had to ask him to repeat it. He looked annoyed that I had actually interrupted his real work of stocking shelves.

And, people wonder why Amazon has gotten so big.

Perceived Indifference

You see, perceived indifference is the number 1 reason (7 out of 10 people) why people stop doing business with a company.

Coming back to the phone…

That is how you can show perceived care. How you answer and handle each step in the phone call.

At our firm we have 8 Performance Standards just for the phone…

Thanks for reading….