Saturday, September 8, 2007

Client Nibbles on the Phone: how to reel them in...

“Yes, I’m calling to book your massage and facial combo and I have a 10% coupon,” I say to the person on the phone. They respond with, “Oh honey, I’m sorry that offer doesn’t work with our two-service special.” I stare at the coupon not finding any support for what I’m being told…I’m also fighting annoyance because she just called me honey. Having spent years teaching the importance of first impressions on new customers, I cringe for her and promptly hang up.

Not every nibble through the phone results in a large fish for your practice, but the spa I was calling had no idea if I was a guppy or a whale. Their phone persona ensured I lost interest in the bait and went somewhere else to swim.

Often how a new client phone call is handled is the only chance you get to make a first impression. The expectations of the client will be set based on the conversation held.

Some Tips:

Always answer the phone professionally. Even if you use your cell or a home phone to conduct business, assume any unknown number is a future loyal client. A polite, “Thank you for calling ___, this is ___, how may I help you?” will give a great first impression.

Attempt to clarify expectations during the call to set the tone for your intake interview. Ask for the purpose of their visit and take notes to review prior to their session. They will appreciate you remembering the conversation when they arrive. If you can’t meet their needs, don’t book the client. The negative word of mouth generated from a disappointed client far outweighs the money you earn for the session.

Never make the phone dialogue difficult. Sometimes the hard part for your future client is just picking up the phone to ask questions or book an appointment. The more duress experienced during the call, the less likely they are to book with you. Answer their questions thoroughly and make it easy for them to make an appointment.

And please…never call them honey, sweetie or darling.

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