Talking with customers and prospects on the phone at a service center can sometimes wield some difficult situations – your service staff knows better than anyone how to handle a tricky situation with a car, but not always one with a customer on the phone.
While it’s true that customers will return to a service center that provided excellent repairs, they also want to feel like their conversations are handled well. As a service manager you may first gravitate toward phone scripts to make the experience easier for your team, while also providing excellent customer service.
But the easy way isn’t always the best way. Using phone scripts to entice customers into making an appointment could, in fact, be hurting your service center. Here’s why your staff may want to avoid strict scripts:
Scripts feel less natural
Reading from a sheet of paper or memorizing a block of text can very easily make your staff sound robotic on the phone. A phone call is all about holding a conversation with and relating to the customer, not about spouting off memorized lines. Plus, if your staff forgets a part of the script or gets too flustered, the caller could get confused.
Pushing a strict script discourages ad libbing
Don’t let your staff be afraid of venturing away from the script. Encourage each person in your staff to hold the conversation like any other, while still remembering the ideals of the company. Is your team talking about service specials and actively trying to find a solution for the caller’s problems? Each call can follow the same general outline, but should be personalized to the customer.
Your staff may not pay attention to the conversation
You know the feeling of doing the same thing so many times that you don’t even think about it anymore? Muscle memory applies to speaking, too, and when it comes to phone scripts, your staff may stop paying attention to the conversation and check out before it even starts. Don’t let your customers feel like your staff isn’t paying attention! Come up with a standard greeting but have your staff stay focused on what comes next.
Talking on the phone will seem like a chore
Variety is the spice of life. Repeating the same phrases over and over is sure to tire people out. You want your team to be excited to talk to customers and make their service experience worthwhile! Between fixing up cars, doing “clerical work” is probably not the biggest idea of fun your team can think of. Make it fun and let them treat the calls like a chat rather than a chore.
The script may not apply to certain situations
Most scripts will probably deal with setting appointments. What about those calls about inventory, hours of operation or general advice? You don’t want your staff to feel so dependent on scripts that they can’t handle these situations without one. While every conversation should have an appointment request at the end, it’s not always the main focus. Educate your staff on all types of calls and how to handle them.
Here’s a simple solution
When your service staff gets on the phone to book an appointment, outline only the key points and avoid writing a typical conversation out word-for-word. Key points include asking for the caller’s information, inquiring about the service needed, finding an available time and providing directions.
Make sure you’re outlining your goals. What is their biggest objective? What is mandatory for every call? Analyze these key points of every call and put them on paper, then print them out and distribute. Sometimes your team (and you) will forget about these basics while in-action.
If you’re having daily meetings, mention the phone every time! It doesn’t have to be a long discussion – include a quick reminder of what makes a good phone call in every single service meeting so your team stays on track.
Also, remember the power of recorded calls. Reinforce positive behavior and share any good calls you hear with the right people at the dealership. Reward agents who perform well and continue to encourage them. If a team member is falling behind, give them a heads up and offer helpful tips.
Feel free to flip the script rather than throw it out forever.