Between email, social media, and chat services, there are plenty of ways for your clients to reach your construction business. But it may come as a surprise that 48% of new clients prefer a phone call as the first point of contact for a local business. Though many of us may shy away from phone calls in favor of text messages in our personal lives, professional telephone etiquette remains a critical skill for all businesses.
In a recent survey, only 21% of clients reported being satisfied by phone interactions with construction professionals, making construction the sector of the survey with the most room for improvement.
It’s important to stay on top of new client relationships as well as existing projects with friendly and approachable phone etiquette. Whether you have a dedicated receptionist or answering your business phone is a shared responsibility, every time your phone rings you have an opportunity to impress (and win jobs).
From the moment a potential client decides to call your business to your parting goodbyes, there are a few simple phone tips that your construction business can make every phone call count.
Rule number one to growing your business: give clients ample opportunity to connect. When someone realizes they have a problem that you can solve, picking up the phone and dialing in should be as easy as 1,2,3:
- Make your phone number easy to find.
Don’t play hide-and-seek with potential clients—your phone number should be visible on every page of your website and empowered with click-to-call. In fact, wherever your business name appears (Google, Yelp, etc.) make sure your phone number is present and up-to-date!
- Make it memorable.
In a time where cell phones dominate how we connect with one another, the odds of clients (potential or current) memorizing your business number are slim. Stay top of mind by creating something catchy. Think jingles and soundbites that speak to your expertise, something like 1-800-ROOFERS.
- Make it a point to pick up.
What’s the point of driving traffic to your business phone if you’re just going to lose callers to an automated phone system or deflating voicemail? Missing calls is a great way to send business straight into the arms of your competitor.
Remember that daunting stat we gave you at the beginning of this blog post? While a 79% dissatisfaction rate is pretty alarming, the good news is: you’re doing more than most contractors can by simply picking up the receiver. While this is a great first step, failing to impress while actually speaking with a client can be just as harmful as an impersonal phone tree. Woo your callers into clients with these little bits of Ruby magic:
1. Create a great greeting.
We’ve written a handy how-to for great greetings here, but in summary, your business’s standard telephone greeting should sound something like this:
“Good afternoon! ABC Construction. How may I help you today?” or “Thank you for calling ABC Construction. How may I assist you?”
2. Use hold wisely.
The location of the hold button is one of the first things you learn on your business’s phone system. But how do you communicate your rationale for putting a customer on hold? When it comes to putting a customer on hold, it’s better to ask than tell. Ask your customer’s permission to press the hold button with a simple “May I put you on hold?” Of course, your caller may prefer to stay on the line. If that’s the case, stay on the phone and communicate how it is you’re addressing their question or ask how their day is. A hold button is a valuable tool for your business, but wield it’s power wisely.
3. Be polite.
Incorporate politeness into your client service strategy with a few key phrases. While there’s no shortcut for great phone etiquette, saying “please” and “you’re welcome” will go a long way. Phrases like “my pleasure,” “may I,” and “I’d be happy to…” make a conversation feel balanced, pleasant, and natural—especially when it’s your client’s first point of contact with your business.
Be sure to smile. You may have heard this piece of advice before, but did you know that you can hear a smile over the phone? Callers will be able to hear the warmth in your voice, and you may find yourself feeling more positive. No one can truly anticipate all of a client’s unique needs, but a smile is an important first step to keeping the conversation upbeat.
5. End the call in style.
When the conversation is winding down, reverse our three-stage greeting for a professional sign off. Be sure that you’ve addressed your customer’s reason for calling by asking if there’s anything else they may need help with. Once the conversation is at a close, thank your caller for reaching out! They’re expressing an interest in your business, so regardless of how the call ends, be sure to thank them for their time. Your final exchange for every call will sound something like:
“Is there anything else I can help you with today? Thank you for calling ABC Construction. Have a great day!”