BY BILL FAETH
Are you investing in your CSRs? I’m not sure about you, but I call ground transportation companies around the country at a minimum of 10-15 times per month, whether I’m traveling for my own corporate business, or I’m just calling to vet different companies.
Consistently I find—no matter the operator or region—that the customer service reps to whom I speak have poor etiquette over the phone. It has become increasingly apparent that they are not well trained.
Often, when I call operators, I immediately get the sense that I’m inconveniencing them. Worse, I don’t know if I’m speaking to a CSR, a manager, or an owner. They answer the phone, “Limousine Service! How can I help you?,” as opposed to putting on a smile and answering the phone the way you would expect to be spoken to by The Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons Hotel.
When I call any customer service-based business, I want to feel like they are excited to hear from me. Something I recommend when training CSRs is to have them focus on the first 20 seconds of every single call that comes into the office, which is the most critical time for landing a prospect.
CSR: “Hi. My name is Bill with Bill’s Limousine. How may I assist you today?”
Prospect: “Hi, Bill. My name is Ms. Jones, and I am calling to see if I can book an airport transfer?”
CSR: “Hi, Ms. Jones. Thank you so much for calling. Have you used our service before, or is this your first time calling us?”
Now, in that first 20 seconds when the CSR makes an enthusiastic introduction, and raises their voice a few octaves, the prospect on the other end of the phone feels special. At this point, they have delineated a critical separation that qualifies the process of what should happen with every single call that comes into your office.
It can then be determined if that call is from a prospect or an existing client. Believe me, that distinction is critical—because they should be treated differently.
Let’s assume that this person is a prospective customer. They’ve been greeted. It’s been identified that they are a prospect that has never used your service before, and they want an airport transfer.
The next thing that needs to be done is to build a rapport with them. They should be asked, “So, do you travel often? I sure love traveling and it is one of the reasons I got into the ground transportation industry. What’s your favorite city that you travel to? What line of work has you traveling so frequently?”
The goal of this 15-second interval is to engage and make a connection with the prospect that will earn their trust.
At this point, the CSR has acquired the name of the caller. They have also taken notes on the data collected from the call. This is preparation for what can happen after the call to accomplish the follow-up sequence.
The next part of this segment is going to be to deliver them the price, but before that is done, value needs to be created for this prospect. Remember, they’ve never used your service before. You need to train your CSRs to give all prospects three value propositions.
CSR: “Hey, Ms. Jones. We are excited that you’ve called us for your airport transfer. Since you’ve never used our service before, let me share a couple of things with you: Did you know that we have an on-time guarantee? We back this up with two different quality control processes: first, we manually review every reservation the night before. Second, before the car leaves our garage, our chauffeur manager goes over the trip details before departure, and we utilize GPS tracking to monitor real-time traffic so the vehicle arrives on-time at your door. We have a 99.95 percent on-time delivery ratio and take our guarantee seriously. The great thing is that if we, on the rare occasion, are a minute late, your trip will be comped 100 percent.”
Now that you have added value for your first-time prospect, it is time to deliver the price.
CSR: “Ms. Jones, the airport transfer is going to be $85 to get to and from the airport. Would you mind if I asked for your email address? This way, I can email you the quote, and if you call back and I’m not available, there will be no miscommunication with the price I have quoted you.”
This is typically where the conversation ends, so the CSR needs to be trained to know that they should have asked for the prospect’s business by the end of the call.
CSR: “Ms. Jones, it sure has been great speaking with you today! Can I confirm this reservation for you now?”
Prospect: “Not at the moment.”
CSR: “Well, is there anything I can do to earn your business now before I let you go?”
Those are the last two things that a CSR needs to ask. If the prospect does not book on their own, every single CSR in your operation needs to ask these final questions. This is how you turn order takers into order creators.
Congratulations on implementing your first new inside sales rep.
Bill Faeth is the founder of Limo University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.