The Art of Interviewing the Customer: Making a Good Impression, Building Confidence, and Interviewing Your Customer Over the Phone

Whether you’re buying our disaster mitigation, restoration, or home services leads or generating your own leads, you need to know how to convert those jobs. In order to help you close more calls, we asked our good friend Lisa Lavender to share some of her called handling wisdom with us.

As Chief Operating Officer and Co-owner of both Restoration Technical Institute and Berks, Fire, Water Restorations, Inc., Lisa has more than 18 years of experience in water and fire restoration services and has been training other restoration professionals since 2012. In 2018, she has expanded her passion for serving other restorers by partnering and becoming VP of Operations Design for iRestore, a restoration management software solution.

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The phone is ringing. Now what?

It is of critical importance that whoever is answering the phone in your restoration company projects a soothing confidence to the caller who may have just experienced damage to their home, their business, their property, and sometimes even worse…

The person answering the phone is sometimes the first impression a customer will receive of your company. And first impressions matter. Everything from tone to knowledge has a direct impact on the confidence the caller has in your company.

In addition to giving empathy and evoking confidence and trust, we have to begin the process of interviewing. There is quite a bit of information necessary to effectively and efficiently deploying restoration services. A couple of tips to help you start strong when the phone rings:

Using A Script:

Consider the use of a script and make sure that the person who answers the initial call understands their role and its importance. If using a script, choose your words carefully. It may not be best to have a default script that calls for an enthusiastic, “It’s a great day!” After all, someone may have had significant damage to their property and their lives may have been drastically impacted…not a nice day. Also, the person who is taking the call should be prepared to answer a variety of questions and have the right information at their fingertips.

Classes and Training:

It is very beneficial to invest in office staff’s technical training. By having some water, fire, smoke, odor, mold training and more, they will have an increased level of confidence when assisting your next customer. The customer will find their technical knowledge assuring. In addition, having technical knowledge will help with the gathering and communication of critical information in the rendering of services and help with the company’s efficient deployment.

Decide What You Want From the Interview:

1. Facts and Information

Collect name, addresses, contact, preferred method of contact, date, and referral source. I make it a protocol to get phone numbers immediately during the interview in case there is a disconnect for any reason.

2. Insurance Information

Collect the carrier, adjuster, policy, agent, and related contact information. Was this loss reported to the carrier? Is there a claim number?

3. Loss Information

Cause of loss, date of loss, extent of loss, types of materials affected, and types and quantities of contents

4. Other Information

This is any additional information that is pertinent to the loss or rendering of the services. It is good for all personnel to be trained to understand the concept of “meaningful contact.” All meaningful contact should be documented and recorded. Examples can range from: “Beware of dog in rear yard” to “A resident has a chemical sensitivity – review all products used with property owner before application.”

To learn more on this topic, check out this article on The Art of Interviewing the Customer.

Lisa Lavender holds her IICRC Master designation in Water, Fire and Textile Restoration. She is a Lead Trainer, Chief Operating Officer and Co-owner of the Restoration Technical Institute, Reading, PA, a restoration/insurance industry training center and Berks, Fire, Water Restorations, Inc., Reading, PA, a full service restoration and reconstruction company for more than 14 years. You can reach her at [email protected].

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