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  • Follow-Up Phone Calls

    Do you or the company you work for perform follow-up communications with your customers?

    My wife usually answers our phones and does all of the scheduling and chatting with the customers and we have decided that, beginning tomorrow, she will call customers the day after a service call to touch base with them to make sure they are happy, and if they are not, document why, and then work-out a solution for that particular customer, and then work-out a long-term solution -- if it is a valid problem.

    Ours is such a small business that I generally have an idea of exactly what was done on every call and whether a customer is happy or not, but I am very interested to know what our customers really think and if they really are happy with the service we provided. I think this idea is a win/win thing because it will show our customers we care and it will provide us with feedback and ideas that can only help us to better ourselves -- giving us an edge on our competition. I know my competition doesn't do this.

    Any ideas from anybody here would be great. What do you think of this?

    Bruce

  • #2
    Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

    i think it is very nice to see that someone cares enough to call. the only issue that i see with it is once in a while you get people with buyers remorse. when there is an emergency everone is happy to see you and doesn't mind paying a fair invoice. no matter who it is the next day everyone knows a guy the would have done just as good of a job as you but cheaper. you may be opening the door for whinners in that area. people will usually complain if their is an issue butu you will win over people by calling especially the older clients.
    how is it that so many answers are in the instructions

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

      I don't call, which would be a great idea! I will wait about a week, until the customer forgets about our service and send them a thank you card, I am looking to get comment cards printed up, and maybe I will do 10% coupons later in the thank you cards. The phone calls are a great idea.
      sigpic

      Robert

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      • #4
        Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

        Originally posted by proplumb View Post
        i think it is very nice to see that someone cares enough to call. the only issue that i see with it is once in a while you get people with buyers remorse. when there is an emergency everone is happy to see you and doesn't mind paying a fair invoice. no matter who it is the next day everyone knows a guy the would have done just as good of a job as you but cheaper. you may be opening the door for whinners in that area. people will usually complain if their is an issue butu you will win over people by calling especially the older clients.
        You are dead-on with the buyer's remorse and the knowing a cheaper guy scenario and I am sure that will be the number one "complaint." I want to hear these stories, though....I really do. I am sure that after hearing enough of the same types of buyer's remorse stories we will work-out a good answer to give people.

        Bruce

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        • #5
          Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

          since i am the one who is doing the work, i already know how my customer feels

          i would imagine when you have others that do your service work, a phone call or a visit would be a good idea, especially with a new customer or a new plumber.

          also a comment card, included with an invoice might be a good idea

          rick.
          phoebe it is

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          • #6
            Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

            This idea works for larger companies I would think. But don't make the customer feel that you are trying to keep tabs on your employees. For one or two man companies you already know how well the job went. If you are pretty good at reading people you should know if they were satisfied or not.

            I'm not really interested in taking phone a survey. I usually have something better to do with my time. If I'm unhappy with a particular service I will let them know. Send me a 10% coupon and I'll stuff it in the drawer with the rest of the coupons I'll never use. I do like refrigerator magnets though.

            Gotta go...Oprah is on

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

              Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
              since i am the one who is doing the work, i already know how my customer feels
              I do almost all of the work and I am pretty sure I know how my customers feel, too, but with my wife calling the next day (they all seem to like talking to her), it gives a sort of separation from me -- from the face-to-face cordiality a customer might feel they have to present -- new and existing customers. Some customers might not so readily tell me to my face that they aren't happy for fear of hurting my feelings or something, but might have the courage to do so on the phone, speaking to somebody else.

              I am always confident that I have done a good job, but I don't want to take for granted that my customers feel the same way. And if they don't, I want to know what's going on in their mind and do what I can to make them comfortable and satisfied with the end result.

              Bruce

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls


                Hey i think it's a good ideal!! sometimes the custermer may tell your wife something over the phone that they won't tell you in person,

                it may also lead to more work or leads to other people

                I used to do this when i ran a plumbing service co. in L. A. and it was very helpful,

                JERRYMAC
                JERRYMAC
                E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                SINCE JAN. 1989

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

                  Sorry i missed your last post before i finished mine,
                  but thats the idea i was saying!!

                  JERRYMAC
                  JERRYMAC
                  E-MAILJERRYMAC777@GMAIL.COM
                  CALIF. LIC. PLBG,HEAT,DRAINS,ELECTRIC,WATER HEATER, BOILER, POOL AND SPA HEATER
                  FIRE SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR,
                  SINCE JAN. 1989

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

                    Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                    This idea works for larger companies I would think. But don't make the customer feel that you are trying to keep tabs on your employees. For one or two man companies you already know how well the job went. If you are pretty good at reading people you should know if they were satisfied or not.

                    I'm not really interested in taking phone a survey. I usually have something better to do with my time. If I'm unhappy with a particular service I will let them know. Send me a 10% coupon and I'll stuff it in the drawer with the rest of the coupons I'll never use. I do like refrigerator magnets though.

                    Gotta go...Oprah is on
                    I pretty much addressed most of what you think in my last post. You are right about not letting the customer feel we are keeping tabs on employees and my wife would never let a conversation with a customer track that way. It will not be a conversation about us, but about them, the customer. My wife is very good with people, and the customer will know she is calling for their benefit and not ours. However, I do know these conversations will benefit us.

                    Bruce

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

                      I`d say go for it!
                      I myself, dont have the time as I dont even have time to send out my 10,000flyers I have. I figure it`s a good thing to not have the time I guess
                      I`v got all kinds of ideas but never enough time to do any of em
                      http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

                        I'd call my customers, but it's hard enough to get out the door with all the complaints as is.



                        Seriously, repeat and referral bus tells me all I need to know.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

                          We keep 14 plumbers busy every day but we still make time to contact customers no more than 2 days after their service was performed. It is a great way to stay in contact and since they feel that they are speaking to someone with authority they typically feel very free to express their opinions. You've heard the saying, "A happy customer may tell one person, an unhappy customer will tell ten." I prefer to contact them and allow them to give me an opportunity to make them happy before they have time to get angry about a situation.

                          It also helps us get an idea of how our plumbers really act outside of the office. Are they rude, impatient, arrogant? Did they clean up well? I'll find out when I call the customer. Then, I can head off any potential problems that I may have with an employee. If he is a good plumber, no warranty calls, but he leaves a bad impression with the customer, I can train him to act differently. I was in the field running calls for years and I loved that we did follow up calls. I could go out of my way to please a customer and I knew that the guy signing the paychecks would hear about it.

                          As a one man shop, some of these benefits may not apply to you, but you may grow larger one day. Also, you'll develop a reputation with your customers that yours is a company genuinely concerned with their satisfaction. They'll feel that you see them as an individual that you can serve, not a piggy bank coughing up dough.

                          Keep in mind that with some people, Jesus could show up and turn water into wine and they'd complain about the poor service, so make sure your wife is cool with the occasional PITA that wants to gripe just to feel better about themselves. My wife couldn't handle it, the first person to complain about her husband and she'd start using her 6th grade teacher voice and assigning detentions. Good luck to you both.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

                            Well put, VERY well put.
                            If I had guys under me and hadn't had the practice of callbacks, I would now.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Follow-Up Phone Calls

                              A Perfect service call requires 10 steps

                              Consultant Gary Oetker outlines the 10 steps to a perfect service call.

                              "The perfect service call is all about setting up expectations for the company and the personnel — not just the techs, all customer contact points — and then creating processes around getting it done," he told QSC members. "If you don't define the steps, how do you hold people accountable, train them, resource them and praise them? As long as you're defining the steps, why not write them down?"

                              Each key area of the call has steps that need to be defined, learned, practiced and executed in the field, Oetker said. Too often, contractors react to a call for service without these steps in place.

                              "We're very action oriented and don't take the time to consider what we want to accomplish," he noted.

                              The 10 steps are:

                              1.) The pre-call. This step includes answering the phone and scheduling an appointment. Phone etiquette suggests that the phone be answered promptly, within three rings if possible. Certain questions have to be asked.

                              "You need to ask upfront how the customer is going to pay," Oetker said. "If it's a residential customer, ask about a maintenance agreement. Even if you know they have one, this re-establishes the value of an agreement, and you can offer a discount."


                              2.) The arrival. This covers parking the service vehicle and getting ready for the call.

                              "You may want to time-stamp your arrival if there's going to be a question later," he said. "Remember that a parked truck is a billboard for the neighborhood."


                              3.) The approach to the home. This involves the employee creating a first impression with his appearance, intelligence and character.

                              "You may want to have extra shirts that the tech can change into during the day," Oetker said. "Breath mints are required by some companies."

                              He suggested that the dispatcher or tech call on the way to make sure someone is home and to identify the tech to the customer.


                              4.) Contact. Greeting the customer includes a handshake, during which the tech can ask about a service agreement (with the opportunity to sell one), verify method of payment and present his business card.

                              "Gain permission to ask questions to make sure the dispatcher got it right," he said.


                              5.) The interview. Key questions will allow the tech to learn about the customer, the problem at hand and other areas in the home that may present opportunities.

                              "A lot of techs ignore this step and just jump in," Oetker said.


                              6.) Understanding humans. Techs must be taught how to relate to different personality types. Some customers are amiable, others are analytical and some are more expressive than others.


                              7.) The plan for the customer. The tech explains the diagnostic procedures and asks the customer to show him the problem. During this step, the tech gets permission for access to the home's problem, and he can invite the customer to tag along.


                              8.) Diagnosis and treatment options. The tech completes the diagnosis and fills in the service ticket or wireless input device. It's important that the tech not oversell the repairs and that he uses collateral materials to explain repair options and the service agreement. He explains the timetable for the repair and gets customer authorization to proceed with repairs.


                              9.) Executing the repairs. The tech completes the technical repairs. He reviews the repairs on the service ticket or wireless input device and gets the customer's signature. Then he collects payment and processes the paperwork or transmits the wireless data.

                              "Technicians should be trained upfront to collect and to demonstrate the value of the repair," Oetker said.


                              10.) Debriefing and completion. The tech explains how referral coupons work for the customer's friends and neighbors and introduces the customer response card, which could be part of the service ticket. He thanks the customer and returns to his vehicle to distribute door hangers in the neighborhood. Then he has a debriefing with the dispatcher.

                              A customer service rep should make a "happy call" to the customer to follow up on the service just completed. The company should follow up on any customer response card with ratings less than eight on a 10-point scale.

                              "Perfect service requires discipline and accountability as well as resources, training and follow-up practices," Oetker said.
                              You will never expand your mind, if you do not challenge your beliefs.

                              By the reading of this post, you acknowledge and agree that the poster shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any content contained herein.

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