Putting Some Structure Around the Inbound Phone Call

Recently, a client of mine in New Jersey asked me to improve the process of booking inbound service calls. The first thing we did was start recording calls, listening to each one and measuring the conversion rate. I discovered that there was no structure, we were rambling and our conversion rate was low.

Here’s a warning: if you decide to record calls, make sure that you let your employees know about it. Explain to them that it is about improving the process, not judging individuals. In this case, the manager failed to communicate this with one person who is valuable to the organization and we had to do some damage control. She felt violated and not trusted because she was not aware of the recording. The manager took responsibility for his mistake, apologized and we were able to get past it. Make sure that you are upfront and make the focus about improving.

Regarding the structure

Show gratitude and be sincere about it. Our clients write our paychecks. Without them, we do not have a job. We should be grateful for every phone call. This can be stated by a simple, “Thank you for calling.” Be yourself and be sincere. No one likes to be patronized and people can hear it in your voice if you are not sincere.

Show some empathy; have an intellectual understanding of what they are going through but do not take on their emotions. You have to use your own words, but empathize with them at some point when it seems natural.

Whatever they say after you answer the phone and listen to them, always respond with “I can help you with that.” Don’t get nervous about anything. If they ask how much a water heater is, just say, “I can help you with that.”

After that, transition into a conversation and determine who they are and what level of relationship you have with them. A good question is, “Have we been to your home before?” If not, the next great question is, “Wow, we really appreciate you picking us. How did you hear about us?” This is where we start qualifying the call.

Each call should be given a level of priority based on the likelihood of doing business and some other things. Don’t put shoppers in front of good clients who never complain. For example, if I’m really busy and a new customer who found me on Google calls in because his regular guy was busy and could not make it out, there is no trust and a high probability that he would shop us. If I’ve got nothing else to do, I go quickly. If I’m busy, I may push this person to the next day.

After getting their name, address and phone number, transition into building value in the service fee. Below you’ll find a script that will take you through this entire process. Please feel free to use it and adapt it to your personality.


• It’s a great day at XYZ Plumbing. This is Isabell, how may I help you?

• (Listen closely so we can determine priority.)

• I can help you with that and thank you for calling. Have we ever been to your home before?

• How did you hear about us?

• Last name please? First Name? Phone number? Any other numbers where we can reach you? City? Zip?

• If it’s new customer: Let me repeat all this back just to make sure I’ve got it right. Are you the homeowner?

• When would you like for us to come out? If they want today, say: We’ll try to get out today. If we can’t make it, will tomorrow be okay?

• If you’ll tell me how much lead time you need, we’ll be happy to call you so you don’t have to stay home and wait on us.

Just so you know…

• We are a flat rate company which means we charge by the job not the hour. That way you don’t have to worry about how long a repair takes; it’s all priced according to the job.

• We will send out a clean and professional technician with a stocked truck.

• We will go through your home and see exactly what needs to be done to solve your issue.

• Once we determine what needs to be done, we will use a nationally recognized pricing catalogue that has thousands of repairs and will advise you up front of your options.

• For us to send him out to your home we do charge a service fee of $$$$. How does that sound?

Roger Daviston is a behavioral consultant who helped facilitate behavioral change to achieve better outcomes. If you have any questions about how to use this script, Roger would be happy to talk to you. You may reach him at 205-837-3643 or roger@rogerdaviston.com.

About the author, Roger Daviston

Roger Daviston is a personal growth consultant who gets measurable results. He facilitates and encourages individuals to change behavior and make different choices to achieve better outcomes.

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