May 04

Be a First Responder!

Fireman2Are you a First Responder?

I am currently listening to the audio version of “Do Over” by Jon Acuff.

He mentions the importance of being a “First Responder”. He uses the term first responder to reference answering phone calls and emails the first time someone attempts to reach you. It should be your goal to eliminate the need for second attempts!

In our industry this can be difficult because contractors get antsy when they can’t reach you. They will try over and over again in a short amount of time, usually becoming more agitated with each attempt.

The good news is this is controllable!   During my years of working for distributors, I have noticed the different habits of many sales persons and project managers that have an effect on this call back rate.

It seems some are consistently informing the receptionist that they are “off calls” because they are working on an estimate or in the middle of detailing a project. Although these are legitimate reasons to restrict interruptions, they are often exaggerated and abused. These same employees are notorious for not promptly returning calls once they have completed their task because they figure the customer will call back. This approach is done with such frequency the contractor has no faith in getting a returned call. This makes for MORE attempts.

If you are guilty of the above you might feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Your day may feel totally out of your control and you are constantly putting out fires. Try following these easy tips.

  • When notifying the receptionist to hold your calls, ask her to inform callers of the estimated time you will be able to make return calls. This can also be done on a direct line with a voice message.
  • After the task you are working on is complete, return all calls promptly. If you are unable to resolve their issue immediately it is still important to call them back and let them know you are working on their issue. Give your customer an estimated time frame that you will call them back with a resolution.
  • Respect this time frame. If you were unable to solve their issue within the estimated time, call them back and let them know you need a little more time. Give them details on what you are waiting on and how much longer you need.

Over time these habits will foster a comfort level with your callers that all they need to do is call you once and they will be taken care of as quickly as possible.

 Make the commitment today to Be A FIRST RESPONDER!

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