Your Phone is Ringing . . . Now What?

Channel Partners

October 1, 2003

5 Min Read
Your Phone is Ringing . . . Now What?

Posted: 10/2003

Your Phone is Ringing . . . Now What?

CSRs Key to Winning, Keeping Customers

By David Saxby

Every day, your phone is ringing.
customers are calling with a need and an interest in purchasing one of your
products or services.

Every time your phone rings, you have a sales opportunity. As
a small carrier, its important that you realize the impression your customer
service representatives leave with your customers is instrumental in the sales

CSRs need to know that feelings conveyed and developed during
customer-contact situations are important. People buy when they feel
comfortable, when they feel they can trust you, when the process feels natural
and reassuring, and when they come to the conclusion that buying will make them
feel good. All of this happens as a result of the relationship your staff has
with your customers.

Statistics support this concept. Recent consumer surveys show,
in most cases, 20 percent of the decision to make a purchase is logical and 80
percent is emotional.

You will gain a huge competitive advantage if your CSRs have
the ability to develop rapport and create a relationship in which your customers
feel comfortable and understood.

Here are some basic components of that process.

Building Rapport. You dont get a
second chance to make a first impression with a customer. How many companies have you personally called in the last 72
hours? How many times were you greeted by a warm and friendly person who not
only was enthusiastic, but also demonstrated a desire to make sure your
questions were answered and your needs were met? Research of telephone
conversations concludes that 87 percent of our communication is a result of our
voice quality while only 13 percent is from content.

During face-to-face interactions, we have a definite advantage
in that we also can use our body language to support our communication. We lose
that advantage when communicating over the telephone. Our voice, tonality and pitch are the biggest part of this

Voice inflection is a vital part of the CSRs communication
on the phone. Do your CSRs come across with a robotic greeting that tells you
theyve said it a thousand times before or do they leave the impression theyre
ready to do anything they can to assist your customers?

Active Listening. CSRs are asked the
same questions every day. This repetition can become boring. So what can they do to prevent your customer from hearing that
boredom? Practice active listening. They need to ask questions to confirm they clearly understood
what the customer said. Words and phrases like okay, right and I
see interspersed during a conversation tell the customer the CSR is
listening. Confirming what the customer said also shows the CSR is listening and
it clears up any opportunities for miscommunication.

Understanding Customer Needs. If a
customer calls inquiring about a product or service, theyre revealing an
indication that they may buy. Before they can make that buying decision, though,
they probably have some questions.

People shop for a product based on price but they buy based on
the benefit they believe they will receive from ownership of that product. When
a customer buys a cell phone, DSL or any other product you offer, theyre
buying because the perceived benefit will fill an emotional need.

CSRs should strive to create a dialogue with your customers to
determine their motivation for buying that product. They can then explain the
benefits based on the customers need.

Most telecom CSRs quote the price and expect the customer to
make a decision based solely on that information. Price may not be your
competitive advantage.

So how do they create a dialogue to determine a customers
need? The key is to have rapport with the customer and ask a variety of
open-ended questions to create a conversation.

Some examples of open-ended questions are:

  • What prompted you to inquire about DSL service?

  • What about DSL is appealing to you?

  • What concerns might you have about DSL?

  • What information do you need in order for you to becomfortable with purchasing DSL?

Open-ended questions help your CSRs understand the buyers
knowledge level about the product as well as their emotional need for the
product. Many customers dont understand DSL or how it works. CSRs
need to spend more time helping those customers understand the benefits of DSL
so they will be comfortable with making a purchase.

Asking for the Business. Unfortunately,
most CSRs either dont know how to ask for the order or they dont like
asking for it. Most customers expect to be asked to buy and dont object if
the request is not made in a pushy or condescending manner. Remember, you cannot force your customers to buy. They do so
on their own. The CSRs role is to help them make a decision.

Asking the customer to buy should be a stress-free conclusion
to the sales presentation. If they have qualified the customers needs, presented the
features, advantages and benefits of your products and created value in the mind
of the customer, CSRs should be able to comfortably ask for the business. Often
the customer will actually close the sale themselves if they have heard a
professional presentation.

Knowing Your Competition. Your
competitors are investing their marketing dollars to attract your customers to
their products. Your customers may be comparing you against your competition
based on price. In many cases, you may not be the lowest-priced provider.

Do your CSRs know competitor rates and plans? Do they know
what makes your products and services different and better? Are they comfortable
explaining the benefits of choosing your company over the competition?

Your phone is ringing every day with customers interested in
buying products and services. Are they buying from you or your competition?

David Saxby is president of Measure-X, a Phoenix, Ariz.,
measurement, training and recognition company that specializes in customer
service and sales training for the telecom industry. He can be reached at +1 888
644 5499 or at [email protected].



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