Incoming phone calls at car washes represent a critical intersection between new customer conversion and customer retention, and poor call handling by employees can be costly to both. Individuals calling into your wash expect to be heard, valued, and respected as their questions or concerns are communicated.
However, a sizable portion of car wash employees are entry-level employees, some not yet out of high school. Many may not have experience with answering phones professionally, particularly when the wash is busy and their attention is divided.
Failure to provide courtesy to callers can do great damage to the impressions formed by a business, and ultimately to that business’ reputation as a whole. For this reason it is vital that car wash managers invest time, care, and support as they train their employees in proper call handling practices, including the following 7 points:
1. Have a Complete Greeting
Your wash begins forming an impression on callers from the first ring, and that makes the first words your staff speak incredibly important. Staff should work hard to pick up the phone promptly and should have a prepared, standard greeting that accomplishes the following:
- Introduces the business
- Provides the staff members’ own name
- Offers help to the caller
For instance, “Thank you for calling Turbo Track Auto Wash! My name is Jenny. How can I help you this morning?”
2. Learn and Use Callers’ Names
Using a caller’s name is another simple procedure that’s important for building rapport and making callers feel valued and heard. Most callers will offer their names at the start of the conversation, while others may need to be prompted to provide their names if and when your staff member takes a message.
Your staff should answer the phone with a smile just as they would greet an individual coming in for a wash. It’s surprising the difference a simple smile and some enthusiasm can make in the tone of a voice, and that warmer tone is often then mirrored by the caller. This mirroring can help defuse or moderate complaint calls from the start and otherwise bolster your business’s positive impressions.
4. Collect Information for Follow-Up and Reporting
Knowledge is power. So make sure that your employees have a simple, easy system for recording call information. Your system can include a computerized spreadsheet, or be as simple as a pen and paper with columns for dates, callback info, and space to jot down some information.
Use the information collected to identify issues your customer base might be experiencing, develop strategies to answer FAQs using other marketing materials, or efficiently follow up with individual callers as needed.
Incentives like monthly specials, package upgrades, or other small discounts give your employees an important tool with which to motivate callers, who in turn feel as though they are receiving extra value and have been rewarded for reaching out and making contact. Employees can also mention free vacuums or other wash features for a similar effect.
6. Turn your Answering Message into a FAQ
Customize your location’s answering machine to answer FAQs in order to cut down on the volume of messages waiting for you in the morning. For instance, you may want to mention your hours of operation, or direct callers to your website where membership changes can be made.
7. Establish Specific Call Directives and Policies
Call directives and clear policies for different types of calls can help guarantee that your employees will act appropriately when those calls arrive, collecting specific information, taking messages, transferring to your cell, or taking other actions as specified. Polices may be required for several different call types including damage claims, membership changes, personal calls, emergency situations, etc.
Tommy Car Wash Systems