I’ve learned that educating potential clients about answering service practices & capabilities is what makes our service shine above competitors.
Unfortunately, not all potential clients are invested in learning before they buy. In the contact center industry this “attitude without aptitude” quote demand always leaves the buyer with unreasonable expectations and often substandard service.
In this competitive business environment, learning at the expense of your ability to maintain and generate revenue is worse than “learning the hard way”.
The lack of desire for knowledge about the level of service a business, its clients and its potential clients can expect from a call center is mind boggling. This past Sunday I had a prospective client remind me of how important it is to turn these types of interactions around.
I received a phone call from a woman interested in our service, transferred to me via one of our contact center agents. Before our agent transferred the caller she informed me that she was unable to gather any information from the caller and that the caller berated her for requesting any information at all. When calling a service provider of any sort, doesn’t that company’s ability to provide good service begin with the person who answers the phone?
Upon being connected, I politely introduced myself and asked to whom was I speaking. To which the woman replied, “I’d rather not say”. She went on to say that she needed an answering service and wanted to know what it would cost to use ours. I asked if she had ever used an answering service. She sharply replied “no” and that she was “only interested in getting pricing”. I said okay, what would we be doing for you and your callers? Sharply again she replied, “answering the phone”. I took a deep breath and asked, “What we would be doing once we have a caller on the line?” Also, if she had determined what type of forwarding she would be using to get her calls to us. Her reply, “What do you mean? Don’t you just take over the line at a certain time? Why can’t you just tell me the price?”
Another deep breath, “Ma’am, you called me at noon on a Sunday. I answered the phone because I appreciate your call and I want to assist in your search for an answering service. Will our pricing be helpful at all if you do not know how to forward your calls? Based on our conversation to this point, you do not know how to get your calls to an answering service and I don’t have enough information to determine if our service would fit any of your needs. If we figure this out together and find a place where a call center would be helpful, not harmful, to your business then cost will certainly matter.”
Even if you don’t choose AnswerFirst, at least you will know what type of service and rate plan you should be looking for in order to achieve your desired results.”
The light immediately went off. I didn’t see it but I heard it in her voice when she told me her name and asked me how long we’ve been in business. You can look at this as a bad way to go about a sales pitch, but in this instance, the woman (she is in the HVAC industry) had not yet realized what she had set out to do.
She was looking to put her current revenue stream, plus the ability to generate new revenue, into the hands of complete strangers.
Educating, connecting and maintaining relationships with people is the key to my success. I don’t disappear from your world after you sign up for service. My phone number does not change. And, I always endeavor to educate and engage interested parties about our service regardless of whether I think they’ll actually buy service from us; because providing excellent customer service is a process that starts from the very first time a person contacts our business.
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