Monday, July 23, 2007

Do your phone greeters suffer these problems?

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Are you losing money because of THIS problem?

Let's pursue a simple marketing question. How much does YOUR company lose everyday (if any) due to shabby telephone communication?

You might have the most compelling positioning statements backed by fantastic commodities but... Have you ever called your company as a customer would? Do you really know what's happening on your communication lines?

You might be SHOCKED at what you hear from the people who answer the phone! Poor communication costs YOU money whether you're the CEO or the janitor!

Does your company suffer THIS kind of RUDENESS?

In the last couple of weeks, I have made more than three hundred phone calls to companies I found in a directory.

I told the person who answered the phone that I found their name in the directory and that I needed to know a little more about their company before I could decide whether to do business with them. (I didn't say whether I was buying or selling.)

I couldn't believe some of the responses I got!

Obviously, some CEOs haven't handled the most basic customer contact - the person who answers the phone. Many phone attendants are just plain rude, saying in essence, "Hey, I'm busy here! You're taking up MY valuable time. What the hell do YOU want?"

When I called one of the largest employers in Silicon Valley, I got transferred from one arrogant, snotty secretary to another - and I still got no answers!

Do your phone greeters suffer THIS IGNORE-ance?

It's amazing how many people who answer business phones know NOTHING about the company that gives them a paycheck.

One "receptionist" even told me, "If you want to find out about our company, you'll have to call back at 4:30." Pathetic! Naturally, she didn't ask for my phone number so someone could call me back.

Do I remember the good calls? Sort of... But the bad ones are indelibly etched into my psyche - AND my computer's memory for backup. I always document my calls.

Here's a simple solution.

A simple, effective solution is to write a script for those who answer your phone. Then, occasionally call your company to make sure they're using it.

Hint: The FIRST thing the phone receptionist should get is the caller's phone number!

It is always good to offer help to your callers. Be honest with each caller. If you aren't the person to answer their question, tell your caller the following:
"I will do everything I can to assist, and I will forward your question to my associate if necessary."

During the call, take notes. Write down their phone number. Write down all information your caller gives you. If you must refer the caller to someone else, explain honestly:

"Mr/s. Customer, I want to be sure we give you the right answer. Let me bring this matter to my associate, __(name)___. S/he is the best person to help us explain this matter and answer your questions.

"I have taken careful notes of our conversation and will explain everything to _____(name) when s/he returns.

"It should take me about __ minutes to review my notes with _____(name). Then I will call you back personally, or make sure _____(name) calls you with the answer.

"Meanwhile, let me give you the spelling of my name and direct phone line, so you can call me if you have any further questions."
If you want some really good ideas on telephone handling, checkout Abe's Voicemailwhere you'll find several Acrobat files that specialize in telephone message-taking.

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