Over the years I have become more in tuned to levels of service from the tone of voice when answering the phone to the response to my questions or problems. I find it absolutely amazing that there are still companies who skip the most important element of their business or pay little attention to it. I’m not talking about price, or your menu of services or how your employees look, I am talking about the very tone and impression of your company that is set by the person who answers the phone. Even if it is a service you have hired, are you certain that the message being sent to customers both current and prospective is the message you want to send. Often times owners don’t have a clue about how their office personnel are coming across to those who contact you. Whether its by phone or email, the impression created is often not what you would want if you were on the other end of the phone.
Take some time to do “shopper” calls to see exactly what is being said. Engage friends or family members to contact your office as new prospective customers and get their impression of the tone being used. Are they getting the sense that their business is wanted? Is the feeling portrayed that this will be a great company with whom to do business? Is there a frustrated edge to the voice at the other end? Is the person answering easy to understand, shows they care about your call and overall makes you feel glad you contacted this company? If you can’t overwhelmingly answer yes to all of these questions, they you have some work to do.
Here’s an example: Called a local plumbing company yesterday where I have been a customer for years to see about having new faucets installed. Instead of the person answering the phone in a friendly, welcoming manner, I got a garbled name, a response that went something like “what is it exactly that you want” and then “who did you say you are” and finally, “hold on”. My first instinct was to say” buh bye”, but I thought I’d give the next guy a chance. Sales person comes on and this is the scenario ” Mrs. Cowan, how can I help you today? What were you thinking about in terms of new faucets? I’m happy to get you some prices and call you back within the hour. Or I could come out and bring a catalogue and see what you want to replace”.
Customers know when you care and will respond accordingly. It amazes me that employees with such different approaches and tones to customers can work in the same organization and send 2 distinct messages about customer care to their callers. Do you know what message your staff is sending?