By Amanda Crangle
It was 2001, and I sat nervously in a dingy office inside the barn where I boarded my horse. The swivel chair underneath me did little to quell my anxiety as I swung back and forth, anticipating what was to come. The dusty TV screen in front of me ominously came to life with black-and-white static as the VCR whirred with the sound of spinning tape. My horse trainer sat down next to me and put her hand on my shoulder in a not-so-subtle attempt to stop my twisting from side to side.
The image became clear on the screen, and I saw myself and my horse entering the ring. Head high and jigging one way and another, my off-the-track thoroughbred was allergic to walking. As we began to watch our show jumping round, my trainer paused the video every few seconds and asked me what I saw.
At first, the process was uncomfortable.
My riding position wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t balanced. I was over- or undercompensating, taking jumps too early, or chipping in when the striding was off. What had initially felt to me to be a pretty good round was now a series of tiny disasters. But never once did my trainer say what was wrong. I had tripped over the truth myself and, in doing so, became acutely aware of what I needed to work on.
Reviewing Your Performance
Most people who have been serious about a sport at some point in their life have inevitably been forced to watch a replay of their performance. While it’s painful to relive the second-by-second decisions they made when it mattered most, seeing how they can improve their training to make better decisions next time can be constructive.
The same is true when the phone rings in your office and a stranger’s voice comes on the line with a litany of water-related questions and scenarios. Our training, knowledge, and decision-making are put to use in real time, with no do-overs.
For the past 15 years, I’ve listened to thousands of inbound calls on behalf of clients in an effort to identify where qualified leads are coming from so we can help get clients more appointments and sales with the advertising we perform. Keep in mind that every state has different laws on recording calls, and it’s imperative that you understand what your state says about how to legally record and listen to the calls you receive at your office.
However, if you are not currently recording calls and proactively listening to them, you likely are burning up cash as it rings into your office.
With the amount of money most water-treatment companies spend on marketing, you owe it to yourselves, your team, your customers, and your shareholders to ensure all inquiries are handled in the best way possible.
Here are five reasons to start listening to your inbound calls immediately.
- Training and coaching: Listening to phone calls allows business owners or supervisors to provide feedback, guidance, and training to their employees. By analyzing recorded conversations, they can identify areas of improvement and provide targeted coaching to enhance customer service skills and sales techniques.Even the politest and most empathetic listener may miss opportunities due to a lack of knowledge and training. I have heard many calls when someone contacts the business for a service the business does not provide, and the person at the office very kindly lets the caller know they can’t help with that and bids the caller adieu. A little training can help the employees learn to uncover the root of the issue so they can connect the caller with a water specialist who can further help diagnose and treat the water problem.
- Customer service improvement: Listening to phone calls can help leadership understand how employees interact with customers. It provides insights into customer preferences, pain points, and common issues, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about improving their services, addressing customer concerns, and enhancing overall customer satisfaction.In the book The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, they talk about creating peaks from pits. How often have you been on a customer service call, and it felt like the pits to you? Consider brainstorming ideas with your team on how to turn a routine customer service call into a peak experience, one that people will not only enjoy but remember and share with their friends and family.
- Dispute resolution: Recorded calls can serve as evidence in case of customer disputes or misunderstandings, providing a clear record of what was discussed. If someone calls about a leak coming from a competitor’s reverse osmosis system and later attempts to say your team caused a leak after the service call, you have a record of what was said.
- Performance evaluation: By analyzing phone calls, businesses can objectively evaluate employee performance. They can assess how effectively employees handle inquiries, resolve problems, and adhere to company policies and guidelines. This evaluation process can help identify top performers and areas where additional training or support may be required.The most important part of this is not to judge the employee but look to the leadership team for improved training. Most people want to do the right thing and handle customers well. When they fall short, it can be solved most often with better training processes, systems, and scripts.
- Market research and customer insights: Listening to customer phone calls can provide invaluable market research data. By identifying patterns, trends, and common requests or complaints, businesses can gain insights into consumer preferences, market demands, and potential areas for innovation or improvement. These insights can inform marketing strategies, product development, and overall business decision making.
Suppose you’re using dynamic number insertion to identify which marketing channel the call came from. In that case, you’ll also be able to determine which channel is generating the highest quality leads so you can work with your marketing team to get more.
Remember that with the proper training, employees will be able to identify where they can improve so they don’t feel like leadership is judging or criticizing them. Asking the right questions and allowing them to trip over the truth themselves will stick with them longer and make more of an impact than if someone else points out each mistake.
Just like watching a replay of a performance in sports, listening to recorded phone calls can be a powerful tool for improvement and growth in business. It allows business owners and leaders to provide targeted training and coaching, enhance customer service skills, and optimize sales techniques.
Moreover, it helps improve overall customer service, resolve disputes with clear evidence, evaluate employee performance objectively, conduct market research, and gain valuable customer insights. By investing in call recording and proactive listening, businesses can ensure their investment in marketing and reputation building is returning higher dividends.
With the proper training and support, employees can identify their own areas for improvement and deliver exceptional service to customers, unlocking the full potential of your business.
Amanda Crangle and the team at Lamplight Digital Media help residential and commercial water-treatment companies profitably grow their dealerships using digital marketing. They have worked with over 100 water-treatment dealerships spanning North America, managed millions of dollars in ad spend, and performed over 1,000 scientific website split tests. Crangle intimately knows the water industry, having worked in a dealership as a sales rep and as a general manager.