Here’s a wake-up call for every workshop owner and manager. Research shows 86 per cent of customers will stop doing business with a company if they feel they’ve been treated poorly on the phone.
When you consider that 52 per cent of customers still prefer to engage with businesses on the phone rather than any other communication channel, it’s clear having a good phone manner is crucial in every workshop.
In fact, making just that little bit of an effort to sound happy and helpful could make a huge difference to your bottom line.
So, how does your workshop measure up? Here are our tips for ensuring everyone who answers or makes telephone calls at your workshop is providing the best possible customer service.
1. Answer within three rings
Obviously, you won’t make it every time (especially if you’re under the car!) but try to answer every call as quickly as possible. It shows you’re available and ready to help. But don’t feel like you have to answer on the first ring! Give yourself a second to compose yourself, so you can answer the phone professionally.
2. Perfect your greeting
Answer every single phone call by announcing your company name and your name, and by asking the caller how you can help them. It’s a positive way to start a conversation.
3. Listen to what the caller has to say
Give the caller your full attention. Do not read emails, hand keys to technicians, sign for a delivery or do anything else while you’re talking to the customer.
Also, take notes of what they’re saying, so you can remember the main points and prompt yourself to ask questions or take actions.
And if they’re asking you for information, give it to them.
4. Be cheerful, helpful, patient and professional
It’s important to get your tone right when talking to any customer or potential customer. Try smiling while you’re speaking. It’ll make you sound friendlier (it’s a trick people who work in radio use).
It’s also important to be patient and professional. New customers rarely call and ask for the first available slot. They’ll have questions, like “how much to service my Toyota Hilux?” or “how much to get my brakes done?”
Your gut reaction might be that they’re a time-wasting price shopper, but you don’t know that for sure. They’re probably just getting a feel for you and your workshop, and making sure your price is within their expectations and budget. So don’t answer negatively. Always be upbeat, helpful and professional.
5. Have rules for putting customers on hold
If you need to put someone on hold, always ask first, explain why you need to do it, and let them know you’ll be right back. They must always feel they are your first priority.
6. Offer to book them in right away
When you’re nearing the end of the call (the customer has all the information they want or need to make a decision) don’t forget to make the sale! Let them know the first service slot you have available and that you’d be happy to book them in right away. If they say yes, that was a successful call, right there.
If they say no or that they’ll call back, remind them of your name and that you’d be happy to help.
7. Check your messages and respond to them
Don’t let voicemail slip under the radar. If you miss a call and someone goes to the trouble of leaving a message, call them back as quickly as possible. How quickly and helpfully you reply tells them a lot about your business.
8. Learn from your mistakes
Listening in on how your team handles calls is a good way to see where you’re going wrong and how you might improve.
Sometimes you’ll notice really simple things are forgotten, like giving your name and business name. These little details can turn off new customers. You’ll also hear a lot of potential sales drift away, as team members fail to close the deal.
Make notes for improvement and share them with everyone in the workshop who answers the phone, so everyone knows the difference between a good phone call and a bad one. Frame these notes in an encouraging way.
It’s time to review your workshop’s phone etiquette
While it can be time-consuming to introduce phone etiquette to your business, the extra effort is worth it. A customer who has had a good experience on the phone with you is not only more likely to book your services, they’re more likely to come back, and they’re more likely to tell their friends about you.How does your workshop’s phone etiquette stack up? Is it time to review it and set some standards?