Going With the Flow
It never fails; every day on my way to work I sit in traffic. In the same spot. All they have to do is open another lane before the ramp, and everything would be solved!
I could complain all day.
Whether you’re talking about traffic flow or call flow, the results are the same. Being forced to sit and wait for someone to answer your call—especially when you need help and are willing to pay for it—is excruciating. Just like sitting in traffic. Don’t let your customers sit on the side of the road when all they want to do is pay for your services!
Where are the roadblocks?
As I have said before, calls are the lifeblood of any emergency home contractor; so why waste them? The first step to routing calls better is to analyze your current process. In order to do this, you have to be objective and think of the client.
Some things to ask yourself:
- Are calls going directly to a live person?
- Once the customer reaches the person, can that person help them?
- What is the average answer time?
- Is the best sales person answering the calls?
- What happens to calls at 3 in the morning?
- Can the call center turn a lead into a job?
- Could my grandparents do this easily?
If you ask yourself these questions and know you can improve your process, read on. If not, congratulations – you have your system nailed down!
Calls are not being routed correctly
Routing the calls to the correct person in a timely manner is the first step to success. The first thing that you will need (if you don’t have one already) is a call routing system. In many cases, call tracking systems have call routing features that will work just as well – and many times they are more cost effective, so don’t forget to look into it before making an expensive (and possibly unnecessary)
Whichever route you choose, here are a few features that you’ll need to set up:
This feature allows you to put in multiple phone numbers. If you have a group of people that can answer the calls, then this is a great option. Each phone will ring at the same time and the first person to answer will get the call.
Using a local number is critical in today’s world of Local SEO. If you are going to be advertising the number anywhere online, it has to be local. Toll-free numbers are okay as long as they are used alongside local numbers
Caller ID Spoofing
Spoofing the incoming caller ID allows you to set the number that shows up on the phone, allowing you to display the same number every time. This feature is an awesome way to make sure that your employees answer leads—especially if they have a cell phone and a tendency to screen their calls. Be sure to save the contact for that number in your phone as something that will remind you that it is a lead.
Time of Day Routing (Optional)
Not required, but a definitely something to take a look at if you need to route calls to different people after hours. This a great feature if you have to use a call center (see more on call centers below) after hours, or you rotate who is answering calls each night.
Each of these features should be all that you need to route your calls properly.
Calls are not being answered
Just because you are routing the calls properly does not mean that the most important aspect of call flow is being addressed. If you are not answering your phone calls, then proper call routing is all for nothing.
Here are a few ways to ensure the calls get answered:
- Blast multiple people.
Sometimes you are on a job while your partner is at the office. Blasting the call to multiple people at once ensures that the customer’s call will be answered by someone who might be more available than you are at the moment. Make sure to give your employees (or partners!) a good incentive to answer the calls.
- Buy a separate cell phone.
Many of our clients have purchased a separate cell phone that all of their emergency calls are routed to. This can be helpful for a few reasons. First, you can assign people on a rotating basis to answer all calls. Second, you’ll know that every incoming call is important—no screening. Also, having an emergency phone may serve as a reminder not to leave it behind!
- Use a call center – but be careful!
The upside to using call centers is that your calls will always get answered. The downside is that you’ll be creating more steps for the customer to get the information they need, possibly sacrificing your lead. Remember: Only use a call center that you can trust and only use it in certain situations.
Calls are not being closed
Once you have your calls being routed correctly, you’ll still need to make sure they are being closed.
We have talked about ways to close calls in the past but here are a few quick reminders:
- Route calls to your best sales person or people.
If you can close 9 out of 10 calls and your office manager closes only half, then something is wrong. Taking calls as an owner is one of the best ways to get more jobs. Alternatively, blast the calls and take them when you can get them.
- Have a script or outline
Another way to ensure that close is to have a script or an outline for every emergency call that happens. If you are too busy to take the calls yourself, then this is critical for success if you want to close more inbound phone calls.
Your Time and Effort will Pay Off!
Setting up a call routing system takes some time and effort, but once you’re done you are set up for success! Remember, there will always be tweaks and changes along the way to perfecting a system that works for you. Adjust as needed, and find what works best for your business! Also, if you do not already have a call routing system be sure to reach out to us to learn how we can help you!