Do you know how your staff is performing on the phone?
If you didn’t immediately know how each of your staff members perform on the phone, including what their strengths and weaknesses are, you may not be managing your phone leads to their full potential. Your customer’s experience with your business when they call can make or break a sale. And guess what? Your competitor down the road is wooing those same business opportunities on the phone.
Standard phone processes, such as scripts, routine training, and call management can be daunting. But I’ve outlined five key phone call management tips so you can start owning the phone today.
1. Pick Up the Phone!
It may seem implied, but the amount of businesses I’ve talked to that know their phones are ringing off the hook without being answered is astounding. The first key step to turning callers into customers is to pick up the phone.
First, gain an understanding of when people are calling your business, and make sure you always have at least one person to answer calls. Most call tracking services or phone systems will give you insight into when you receive the majority of your calls. Then, work with your staff to determine if additional employees are needed to help answer calls during peak times. Something as simple as making sure more of you calls are being answered by a live person and not a voicemail is key.
Pro tip: Many smart business owners will also have after hours or overflow calls rollover to a cell phone or back office phone.
Second, if you know your staff is avoiding the phone when it rings, try implementing competitions to increase the incentive to handle calls. The staff member that handles the most amount of inbound calls that week gets a $20 Starbucks gift card. Make phone calls fun, while also tying them back to job (and business) performance.
2. Give Your Staff Guidance
Phone scripts are often a “dirty” word, but having some sort of guidelines to help your staff stay on track when the phone rings is essential. Even the most tenured phone handlers sometimes forget the basics. Think about three to five bullets you can keep next to your phone to remind your staff what needs to be done each time they answer the phone. For example:
- Clear and concise greeting
- “How may I help you?”
- Get their contact information
- Request follow up contact time
Easy reminders for your staff can help them feel more confident and comfortable when talking to a new prospect on the phone.
3. Routine Training
Consistent check ins are essential to maintaining and improving your team’s phone performance. Even if it’s a weekly 15-minute group training or a quick one-on-one before the end of the week, this time can help you avoid losing business from poor call handling in the future. And, this can help your team build confidence in their phone skills. Use this training time for you staff to listen to their own calls, role-play various scenarios, or brainstorm ways to overcome common objections.
4. Listen to Calls
I get it…no business owner or manager has the time to listen to every single call. But would you ever leave your technicians in the field for months at a time without checking in on their performance? No. So take time at least once a month to find a call from each staff member to grade and review performance with the individual. We know because of the Hawthorne effect, your staff members will automatically get better on the phone without any additional training, just by knowing they’re being monitored.
5. Create a Follow-Up Process
Grab the low hanging fruit! Assign someone on your team to set aside 15 to 30 minutes every other day to call back voicemails or appointment opportunities that weren’t booked. Have them regularly check your lead management system to make sure no leads are slipping through the cracks. This routine can help convert previously undecided callers and win business from competitors.
Hopefully these five steps can help you get started on the seemingly daunting task of phone call management. For more information on call handling and tips for lead management, visit our website.