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Here is the challenge; try to listen to a recorded phone conversation from one of your employees in its entirety without having your blood pressure go through the roof. If you can successfully make it though the call and not want to hide under your desk then you have probably trained your staff on what is expected behavior when handling a phone call, for everyone else its time to implement a few basic techniques to ensure you are in a position to capitalize on todays caller.
Pause a brief second before you answer
More importantly take a deep breath so you are not coming across to the caller as rushed. Even though the reality is you have a technician hounding you desk for the sold additional work request, finishing up the paperwork for a customer that is getting close to the thirty minute time promise and you have another customer you recognize coming in the door to see you for the special ordered parts that are in for her vehicle. All pretty typical right, just make sure when you pick up that phone you pause for a second to collect your thoughts take a deep breath and then give the phone customer your complete attention.
This I have found to be the hardest thing to do from previous experience. We know at times the service drive can feel like a mash tent or triage room at times with a lot of things going on. A little trick that I use at times when I need to focus is to visualize the customer’s vehicle or the customer themselves and think of them in front of my desk. When you do need to break away or acknowledge a customer that has stopped at your desk, make sure you excuse yourself properly from the caller, simply hold the phone down and answer the customer in front of you. If it is a quick question and as long as it is not an upset customer allow the caller to hear the conversation, but do not be away from your call for longer than ten seconds. Thank the caller for the brief interruption and then continue with the conversation. Stay engaged and use your listening skills and your caller will feel they have had the opportunity to get their point across to you.
Ask for the sale or the appointment
Too many times I have listened to a call and after my service advisor did a flawless job on listening to the customer and properly answering the customers’ question, they did not ask for the sale or ask for the appointment. After spending the time with the customer please make sure you reward yourself by asking. I realize this sounds really basic but you would not believe how many times this step is left out. Do not rush and do not move on to the ten things that have stacked up on your desk in the three minutes you have just spent with this customer. Finish the call properly, thank the guest for their time and then ask for the sale.