How to Answer Customer Calls

This might seem like a no-brainer. But if you've found that you're getting a good volume of customer calls but not closing deals, then one place to look is your call-answering practices. You've answered a phone your whole life, but there's a subtle art to talk to potential customers on the phone. There's certain words they want to hear, cues they're on the lookout for, and more going on beyond simply picking up the phone and saying "hello".

  • Name your business when you answer any call. What this means is when you pick up the phone, don't just say "hello" and leave it at that. Pick up the phone and announce the business the caller has reached: "Hi, this is Joe's Plumbing, how can I help you?" And while you're at it, name yourself as well so they know who they're talking to. Often customers calling for service are in a place of vulnerability and looking for a service provider to help. You can be that person from the first greeting.
  • Make the call about the customer. While the old adage "the customer is always right" can be debated, you should always put their needs and their situation first. Your service needs to fit to their schedule and their needs, not the other way around. Rather than tell them your timetable, ask them theirs before offering options. Don't tell them your prices, ask them their budget before going into cost. Whenever possible, meet your customers where they are.
  • Don't hang up without outlining next steps. Even if you don't book a job, make sure you have the next steps outlined before you hang up. Have scheduled a meeting or inspection for an estimate. Or, if you haven't gotten that far, ask them when you can expect to hear back from them and/or let them know when you'll reach out if you haven't heard from them.
  • Follow up, follow up, follow up. Don't hesitate to follow up and follow up again. Call them back by the end of the first day of talking unless you've specifically discussed a different call back time. Follow up the next day. From there you can take a look at our lead management article to see options for cadences on how to follow up after that.
  • Avoid sending customers through IVRs. IVRs in front of forwarding numbers tend to result in higher hang-ups. Customers tend to get quickly annoyed when they have to run a phone gauntlet just to get a human on the phone, especially if they catch you at a time where they ultimately have to leave a message at the end of the process rather than talk to someone. This can be a hinderance to your eLocal investment as a customer who gives up halfway through a complicated IVR might still be considered valid. One option to avoid this is to set up a dedicated phone line for eLocal calls (your Customer Success rep can answer questions about this). it's a free-to-low-cost solution if IVRs are part of your company's phone system

The art of the phone call is just as important to your business as your abilities with your craft. You can provide service if you don't book jobs and having good phone etiquette is a key ingredient in getting jobs.