1. Who is answering the phone?
A. Dedicated Receptionist
•The lowest paid person talks to more customers than anyone, make sure they have a great personality and good phone voice.
•They make talk to hundreds of people per day, but for the person calling it may be the first. Wow them with a professional upbeat greeting. Such as: “Thank you for calling ABC Marine, this is Mary, how may I direct your call?” Voice inflection should be positive and not rushed.
•This person is responsible for routing calls, so avoid asking “how may I help you?” It should be, “How may I direct your call.”
•Always conduct warm transfers. Make sure the intended department or person answers and avoid dumping customers in voice mail. The operator should call the intended person or department and make sure the customer will be greeted by a person. If not, proceed to the next bullet point.
•If the intended target does not answer, the receptionist should ask for the customer’s cell number and let them know they will have that person call back ASAP.
•The receptionist should have the cell phone numbers of each dealership employee and then text the customer information for immediate follow-up. No more pink message slips!
B. Automated attendant
•This process is least desirable as it often leads to customers getting voicemails.
•Service, sales, or parts should be the top three options in that order.
•Play the role of a customer, test your system, and look for pain points.
•Always have an option that lets the customer get a live person.
2. Keep your service customers informed and avoid customers calling for status updates.
•Be proactive and call the customer first.
•Schedule calls between 9 and 10 AM.
•At the end of the call, let the customer know exactly when you will be calling with the next status update and make the call even if bad news.
•Schedule those calls in a CRM that prompts when to make the next call.
3. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer
•Align with and take a more sympathetic approach to your customers: “Mr. Customer, I understand where you are
coming from, I would feel the same way if…” Or: “I know it’s the perfect boating weather right now and I would be really disappointed if I couldn’t use my boat, let me call again and see when those parts will be here, I promise to call you later today?”
•Avoid being defensive! Phrases like: “we are doing the best we can” is confrontational and only will generally irritate your customers.
•With really upset or aggressive customers, offer to bring a manager into the conversation.