Can you remember the last time a customer told you they chose your company, independent of price, because they’d been wowed by one of your customer service representatives (CSRs)?
Can you imagine bringing in an extra $125,000 a year without having to spend more money on marketing or advertising? Would you believe the two are connected?
The Internet has leveled the playing field for the home service business. Search engines like Google have empowered customers with the ability to search for your company and your competition. By being able to go online and see how much you and your competitors charge for a product or service, the home service industry has slowly become commoditized. Sites like Yelp and HomeAdvisor have become go-to venues for customers to immediately share and receive feedback on you and your competitors. The higher your rankings, the better chance a customer will call you first.
Consequently, when customers call, they’re expecting more than just, “Let me check the schedule.” They’re informed, and they’re willing to shop around if the first call doesn’t meet their needs.
As a business owner, you must equip your CSRs with the tools they need to deliver more than just your average experience. You either wow your customers, or risk losing them to the lowest bidder.
What are consumers looking for?
Customers buy emotionally what they believe logically. Thus, your goal isn’t just to transact, it’s to connect. Consider this:
- When a CSR books just one more call a day, your revenue can increase by $125K/year — without adding an extra dime to marketing or advertising.
- Companies can double their revenue in two to five years, just by changing the way they handle phone calls.
- The customer touchpoint on the phone is the fastest, easiest way to make more money.
Soft skills may seem, well, soft. But when customers experience them, the results are amazing.
Most customers have two questions: how soon can you come out and how much will it cost? However underneath their immediate need to repair the broken air conditioner or unclog the toilet, there’s also an emotional need to know that you understand their angst. That you truly care and can help solve their problem. Creating a connection with customers over the phone goes beyond mere transaction and will separate your business and improve your bottom line.
From transaction to connection
If given the choice, customers will do business with people they like over people they don’t like. When your CSRs positively engage customers, when they show that your company is listening and that you care, it becomes much easier for a customer to say yes to your services. More customers will want to do business with you because you’re connecting with them.
Most customers who get that emotional need fulfilled on their first call no longer call three or four other companies and shop around. Because you have made a connection, they have made the decision that you understand their problem and can take the hassle out their decision making process.
Four ways to connect
Well-trained CSRs know how to connect with customers by:
- Actively listening to the customer first
- Showing the customer that they care
- Saying yes to reassure them that they can help
- Moving forward with the call by asking for the appointment
Customers want to be heard. They want to know that someone actually cares about their problem and is not just trying to sell them something. By consistently training your CSRs to connect with customers this way, these types of positive interactions will become automatic. Your CSRs will even be able to turn the toughest calls into booked opportunities.
In a real world example from one of my clients, a CSR even turned a wrong number into a booked appointment by simply engaging the customer. Before the customer could hang up after realizing he dialed the wrong number, she simply asked, “Are you sure you don’t need any plumbing or electrical services right now?”
The caller laughed at the question and then stopped in his tracks. “Actually,” he said. “I do.” The customer service representative then asked him to tell her more about the issue and moved forward by booking a time for her techs to stop by and take a look at the issue.
She didn’t just say, “Oh, sorry you called the wrong place,” and hang up. Instead, she was able to book a call that wasn’t even intended to be a service call because she was trained to respond automatically to connect with the caller and help solve his problem.
Remember the movie “Karate Kid?” Remember the moment when you realized “wax on/wax off” wasn’t just an annoying way to get chores done, but actually a way to learn karate?
This same type of muscle memory is created in your CSRs with the right kind of training. That way when the hard calls come in, they’re ready to provide the same high-quality service as they do on the easy calls. Automatically.
Customer service representatives often feel they’re the lowest person on the totem pole, with no way to move up. Maybe they’re also doing double duty as an administrative assistant or office manager, making it an even more demanding job, often with little appreciation or reward.
In reality, your CSRs are the face of your company. If they feel devalued, burned out or bored, your clients will feel it, too.
When you give your CSRs a training opportunity that teaches them a marketable skill, it can awaken their passion for service and create a career path where none existed before. A motivated CSR can change a company’s bottom line, through added bookings, increased sales of service agreements, and the creation of loyal customers. When they’re rewarded for their work, through bonuses or commissions — and even through food that’s not leftover from meetings with your sales techs — they become empowered because they feel important.
Think about the last time you received great customer service. What set it apart? I’ll bet, if you think about it, it was the connection you felt with the person on the other end of the line.
Not only does great customer service create loyal customers, it also brings in sales without spending an extra dime in advertising or marketing. Take your goal beyond fixing what’s going on in the customer’s home. Make every customer say “wow” after they get off the phone with your CSRs, and you’re guaranteed to see the kind of results that make you more money.