Let’s talk about the importance of the phone call.
A lot of shops are spending anywhere from $10 – $20 or more for a new phone call to come in.
What’s your average work order (ARO) today? $400? $800? More? Multiply your ARO by the average amount of service visits your customers have. So if your ARO is $500 and your average customer visits 9 times, your lifetime customer value is $4500. Every phone call from a potential customer is worth $4500 to your shop! Don’t ever forget that.
Now we need to prioritize your attention and time on the phone. This is vital to your shop’s success.
At the top of your priorities is the customer who is in front of you now. They’re there, ready to spend money. You need to do whatever you can to make them feel like they’re number one, right now.
Your second priority is the potential customer on the phone. It’s fine to ask the customer in front of you if it’s ok to grab the phone. But be careful with how you do this. You don’t want to do this too many times or else you’re being rude to the customer in the shop.
Your third priority is the technicians. Your technicians are important. They’re the reason you make the money that you make. But, they’re not as important as the customers who bring the money through the door. So make them feel appreciated but let them know that the customers take priority.
The fourth priority is your vendors. Never put a customer on hold or stop them in the conversation if a vendor is calling. If you’re receiving a call and it’s from your vendor, you can ignore it if you’re dealing with a customer. Call them back when you have some time.
At the bottom of the list are salespeople. People trying to sell to you are the least important on the list.
This sums up priorities.
What happens when you are being called by two customers at the same time?
Answer the phone with your standard greeting with a small alteration.
“Welcome to Johnny’s Auto Shop, home of the lifetime warranty. I have someone on the other line and I can’t give you both the attention you deserve. Can you give me your name and number so I can call you back?”
The key here is to get the customer’s permission to do this. Asking them to be put on hold and then putting them on hold immediately without them say “yes” is very rude!
Don’t promise to get back to the customer in a specific amount of time. you don’t know how long it will take to get back to them. Remember to under-promise and over-deliver. Say that you’ll call back as soon as you can.
What happens if you’re talking to a customer at the front counter when the phone rings? Or you’re talking to a customer on the phone when the other line rings?
Interrupt the customer you’re talking to but be very apologetic. “I’m very sorry, the other line is ringing. Do you mind holding for a few seconds so I can get their information and call them back?” By saying this, you are telling the current customer, they’re your #1 priority.
Finally, check your tone. Your emotions come through phone calls easily. It can be heard in your voice. Before you answer the phone, take a moment to take a deep breath and smile. That smile translates through the call. The customers don’t know what you’re going through that day and what’s stressing you out. All they know is what they’re going through and how you are dealing with them. Their situation trumps yours.