Despite the growth of the internet, telephone calls are still consumers’ communication method of choice. That means improving how you handle phone calls may be the difference between landing your next service contract and losing clients to the competition.
Today we’re going to discuss how changing your perspective on phone calls and improving telephone customer service habits can give your HVAC company a leg up in the marketplace.
Phone Calls Are a Good Thing
The last thing busy HVAC technicians want is be bothered by phone calls. Even dispatchers sometimes get frustrated by the idea of having another telephone conversation, and they get paid to answer and relay calls.
And there lies the problem: Phone calls are viewed as a burden instead of an opportunity.
We have to remember that a ringing phone is a sign of a growing business. By taking calls more seriously and learning to capitalize on every customer interaction, it’s possible to make call handling a strength instead of a weakness.
Let’s explore some specific tips that HVAC techs and business owners can put in place today to improve their telephone customer service.
Tip #1: Always answer the phone
This may seem obvious, but the fact is that too many business owners fail to pick up the phone. Being a small shop that relies on field techs to answer the phone is not an excuse for missing calls.
Every call is important. Forward calls to your cell phone, hire a virtual receptionist, rent a grandma, do whatever it takes to make sure someone is available to answer.
Tip #2: Avoid using voice-mail
Elaborating on Tip #1: Answering the phone means having a live person pick up. Sending callers to voice-mail is not a viable solution for greeting customers. They may leave a message, but they’ll be calling your competitors in the meantime.
Making the phone a competitive advantage means using it better than your rivals. Go the extra mile and make sure callers are greeted by a live voice.
Tip #3: Put on your customer service hat
Even if it’s an emergency call coming in at 2 a.m., the caller should be greeted by a friendly voice anxious to assist them. Taking the call may be the last thing you want to do, but the customer needs help and they’re calling because you advertise as the company for the job.
Remember, every call is an opportunity. Where some companies may make it seem like the caller is an unwanted distraction, you should approach it from the customer service perspective and do everything you can to ensure they leave the call happy, even if you can’t help them. You’re a customer service professional as much as you’re a technician.
Tip #4: Be prepared for common call types
People pick up the phone to get answers and make things happen. Too often this means getting transferred from one person the other, waiting copious amounts of time, and making multiple calls before seeking a resolution.
The reason this happens is because businesses are unorganized and aren’t adequately prepared for all the calls they’re receiving.
Luckily, it’s an easy fix. Take an inventory of the different reasons people call – appointment scheduling, estimates, technical questions, job hunting, etc. – then put together a standardized process for handling each one. Then make sure everyone who may answer the phone is ready to assist callers.
Better Call Handling = More Business
The bottom line is this: Phone calls are still an important part of doing business and improving how you handle them can make you more money. By making sure someone answers, taking a customer service approach, and being prepared for all of the HVAC related calls your company receives, you can take your service to the next level and gain an advantage over your competitors.
These tips are just the beginning! Please share your telephone tips in the comments.
About the Author
Gere Jordan writes for Continental Message Solution (CMS), a leading telephone answering service serving the HVAC industry. They help HVAC companies project a professional appearance, schedule appointments, and take calls around the clock. Learn more at http://www.continentalmessage.com/industries/hvac-call-center.