I’ve been calling consulting prospects. Talking with operators made me think about your customers and prospects. When they first call you. Reminded me of the old saying:
“There’s never a second chance to make a first impression”.
But the second impression counts too.
When customers and prospects call in, your operators subtly shape their expectations. Here are impressions your operators create about your company:
- Professional -or- Mom & Pop
- Customers are King -or- Customers are Interruptions
- Caring about Individuals -or- You’re #62750495
- Great Workplace = Great Contractor -or- Job from Hell = Lousy Service
Web Site = First Impression
Customers and prospects get contractors’ phone numbers from web pages, business cards, brochures or ads.
Then they visit contractors’ web sites to learn more.
Then they call your office.
Operator’s Handling of Call = Second Impression
Funny how incoming call etiquette is poor now everyone is on the web. EXAMPLE:
- A customer calls with a small issue.
- They’re not upset about it.
- They reach your operator.
- In sending the call through she’s unfriendly, says the wrong words.
- Or, she says the right things, but in the wrong way.
- Doesn’t take much to change a customer’s attitude.
- Now a little issue is a problem. Personally, I’d rather deal with little issues.
Lessons Learned Calling Companies
Operator’s Poor Choice of Words
- “Gimme a minute”
- “Slow down”
- “Huh? What’d you say?”
Right Words, Wrong Tone
- This is subtext: “I’m saying what I have to but I don’t give a rip about you”
Generalizations (politically incorrect) about Regional Differences
- Brooklyn tone sounds brusque to genteel South, or West for that matter
IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
- “Press 1 if you were born on a Monday
- “Press 2 if your SS# ends in an even number”
- “Press 3 if you’ve realized there are no humans here to answer your call”
- Muzak is death
- Local radio is OK
- Custom audio ads best (avoid voice-over talent from used car ads)
Don’t Fire the Operators – It’s Your Fault
When you accept the fact that operators impact customers and revenue, you’ll train, reward and QC their work.
Recommend a script for operators. And mystery shopping for you to check your incoming call etiquette. Make sure they’re creating the type of 2nd impression you want.
What Impression are You Making?