As a home service business, you want your phone to be ringing off the hook. You want people to be calling you, inquiring about your services. If nothing else, that proves that your marketing efforts have been doing their job.
But getting calls isn’t the ultimate goal. What you really want is to turn calls into customers—and the first step in that process is getting an appointment set with each lead who dials in.
The question is, how can you train your customer service representatives to make the conversion? One thing you should be doing is preparing those reps to field common questions and objections, leading potential customers to make appointments.
Here are five such questions/objections to prepare for.
A customer calls you with a particular problem.
Say you run a plumbing company, and someone calls to tell you that their faucet is leaky. The best response here is to ask questions and gather more information: “Can you tell me where it’s leaking from? Is it leaking from the spout, or is it leaking from the around the handle?”
By asking these questions, you’re doing a couple of things. One, you’re earning trust; you’re proving that you were the right company to call, and that you know what you’re talking about. And, you’re building a relationship. Talk your potential customer through some possible scenarios, prove that you know your stuff, then invite them to set that appointment with a service technician.
A customer calls asking for a price.
“Can you quote me a price for ____?” Every service business gets some variant of this question; the only thing that changes is how you fill in the blank.
The best way to address these inquiries is by first explaining that you understand the question; restate it, so that the customer knows you were listening and understand what they’re really asking. Then, assure them that they called the right place. Let them know that, yes, you do work on those kinds of problems.
Finally, explain that there are many different situations and it would not be fair to give them a diagnosis or price over the phone. Explain that a trained service technician is needed to evaluate the issue, then secure an appointment with them to offer them the options for the repair.
A customer says they need someone today and you are booked due to high demand.
It’s hot outside and your schedule is full. Your phone is ringing with urgent calls from customers that have No Cool situations. So, what do you do? Explain that with the peak demand, you are servicing others with the same repairs. Offer to put them on an Urgent List and if there is a cancellation or a spot opens, you will call them to get them serviced.
And that’s not all. Offer to book an appointment on the first available time on your schedule and provide them with peace a mind that they at least are on the schedule. In the closing of the call, ask them to call you back if they do secure another service company so you can offer those times to someone else with this urgent type of call.
The goal of handling this call is to offer the service with transparency and to be empathetic to the needs of the customers.
A customer calls asking for a “tune-up.”
Many times a customer calls with a vague request for “maintenance,” or for a “tune-up.” Your job here is to clarify—because they may need repair work done. Ask if they are having any problems right now. Get them to describe any symptoms that make them think they need maintenance work performed.
From there, you can schedule the appointment with the right technician and be prepared to service the customer properly. Of course, how you describe your fees in this scenario is important and knowing what the true need is for the customer sets the right expectation for what your technician will do and how your company will charge for the repairs.
A customer calls and doesn’t have a maintenance agreement.
One final tip for nurturing incoming calls: Train your service reps to educate new customers about your maintenance agreements. As you set an appointment, always ask: “Will you be paying full price for this, or do you enjoy the benefits of our maintenance plan?” If the customer doesn’t have the maintenance plan, let them know that the service technician will make some time to go over it with them
These are some tips that can help you translate call volume into real appointments—closing deals and winning business. All of this takes real skill, persuasion, and diplomacy, however; understanding the types of calls you receive from your customers and incorporating a script as a guide will improve your success for booking appointments every time.
One alternative is to outsource your customer service to our virtual office team. We work only with home service businesses and know how to convert calls into appointments on your behalf. To learn more about our virtual office solutions, contact Contractor in Charge today.