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Editor’s Note: This story appears in Working RE Home Inspector’s NEW September Print Edition. OREP E&O insureds receive guaranteed delivery of each print issue along with many other valuable business benefits.
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Business Key: Answering the Phone
By Lois Rusco, PASS, Inc.
Communicating quickly and efficiently is critical to having a successful inspection business.
Most home inspectors work hard marketing and inspecting but unfortunately, this often does not leave sufficient time for answering phones and responding to texts and emails in a timely manner and scheduling appointments. It can be difficult and even hazardous to answer your phone, text, or email while on a roof or in a crawl space, not to mention the potential negative impression it can leave with a client or agent attending the inspection—seeing your attention divided and compromised.
Real estate transactions are time sensitive, and the marketing that is done to get the phone to ring can also be a waste of time and money if the phone isn’t answered.
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Studies show potential clients are not patient when they need to get an appointment scheduled:
• 80% of callers say they will not call back if they can’t speak to someone when they call.
• 80% say they prefer to hang up vs. leaving a message.
• 98% of callers say poor telephone handling gives a bad impression.
• 69% will never call back.
*Statistics from The Survey Shop.
While many inspectors believe they are not missing business, even one missed call can cost you hundreds of dollars in inspection fees and maybe years of referrals.
There are multiple options available for phone answering. No matter what option you chose, it is critical that the person answering on your behalf is trained and knowledgeable about your business, as this will improve the overall conversion or close rate.
Just answering and providing a price or taking a message for you is not enough to close the deal. Cost is important to the caller and generally the first question, but it is also critical that whoever answers the phone takes control of the call and lets the caller know about the credentials and background of the inspector in addition to the “price.” Clients also need to understand what is and is not included in the inspection, what additional services are available and what other benefits may be part of the home inspection (such as a home warranty).
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If you’re skeptical about outsourcing or don’t believe another person can answer the phone the way you can, consider the following: an inspector in MD who answered the phones himself converted to using a virtual office service and saw his inspections increase 86% or 24 additional inspections per month. This is an average increase of $10,200 per month.
Another inspector in Idaho who did the same saw an increase of 67% or 30 inspections per month yielding an average increase of $12,000 in revenue per month, and he had to increase his inspection staff! Having multiple staff answering your calls, who are knowledgeable about the business, will absolutely have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Be sure your calls and other direct communications aren’t being missed or going to voicemail. Help increase your business and provide excellent customer service by answering your phone and providing prompt responses to all business inquiries.
About the Author
Lois Rusco, CEO started PASS, Inc in 2004. We focus on increasing sales and providing exceptional virtual office services to home inspectors. PASS, Inc can help grow your business utilizing phone, chat and email capabilities.
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Note: The September 2017 issue of Working RE Inspector mailed to over 20,000 home inspectors nationwide. OREP Insureds enjoy guaranteed delivery of each print magazine and many more benefits.