Proper Phone Etiquette for Service Writers

10 Ways to Improve Phone Conversations

Marketing ends when the phone rings. This is your opportunity to bring in new customers and grow your business. It is extremely important to make sure your service writers have proper phone etiquette because they will be the first point of contact for your company. If a service writer does not meet the expectations of callers, you could be missing out on a ton of new business! As someone who worked as a service writer for several years, I understand that there are several rules to follow in order to make sure you are providing the best experience possible when answering the phone.

1. Use a scripted phone greeting

By using a scripted greeting you set an expectation of consistency and professionalism for customers. This is especially important if you have multiple service writers.

Use a greeting such as: “Thank you for calling Autoshop Solutions, this is Jacob, how may I assist you?”

Having your service writer state the company name as well as their own each time they answer the phone will provide needed information to the caller to have a proper conversation.

2. Always use a pleasant tone

Even if you are having a bad day, it is crucial to make sure each and every person calling your business is greeted with a pleasant tone. You will easily scare off potential customers if you have and stressed or annoyed way of speaking over the phone. If the day has been long and hard, try taking a deep breath and putting on a smile before answering the phone. This will help put you at ease and will set a proper tone for the call.

3. Ask for the name of the caller

Knowing the name of who you are talking to will help you have a better conversation with the caller. Saying their name often will show them that you are engaged and are actively listening and will also help you remember them when they bring in their vehicle. This will create a connection between you and the caller and will make them a lot more likely to come in for service.

4. Be polite and respectful

Saying “please” and “thank you” will establish respect for the caller and will show them that you care. Being patient and addressing each of their concerns individually will give them more confidence in your abilities. Even if the caller is irate and constantly complaining, it is important to keep calm and give them a chance to express what they are saying without interrupting. This can help change the emotions of an upset caller into a happy one.

5. Answer the phone within a few rings

It is not a good look for your company if every time someone calls the phone rings over and over before it is answered. This is especially true for someone calling you for the first time! Try to set an expectation with your service writers to answer the phone before the third ring. There will be times where your service writers are busy and can’t manage to answer the phone on time, this is why it is also important to have a voicemail set up so callers can leave a message for you to call them back as soon as you are available.

6. Ask to book an appointment

It is crucial to get as many appointments booked as possible to keep your technicians busy and increase your overall profits. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard service writers give information to a caller and willingly let them hang up without asking to book an appointment. Even if the caller is looking for another shop that is a competitor of yours, you can turn that into your advantage by letting them know you can help them in the same way or better! Always make sure to ask them to book an appointment so they know they have a time set to get their vehicle repaired with your shop before they start calling around.

7. Keep hold times to a minimum

It is important to have a balance of addressing clients on the phone as well as clients that in front of you at the service counter. Typically you will want to prioritize the clients that are there in person over those on the phone. In these situations, you may need to put a caller on hold for a brief time. If your service writer expects that the caller will have to be on hold for several minutes, tell them to ask for their information and see if it is ok to give them a call back as soon as they are free.

8. Inform callers of current specials and shop benefits

When a caller is asking about the services you offer it is important to let them know about any current specials you are offering. This will make them more likely to visit your shop over another because they know you will be honest and offer savings to them when available. Take this time to let them know what you can offer that other shops can’t. This can include telling them about the outstanding warranty you provide on repairs or if you have financing offers available.

9. Follow policy for giving prices or estimates over the phone

Providing a price or estimate to a caller over the phone is a practice that some shops adopt and others stay away from. While it is hard to say what is the correct procedure for your shop, there are some things to keep in mind with this. If you take the time to give an estimate to a caller they will likely try to hold you to that estimate even if the repair ends up being more extensive than what they described. However, when dealing with simple repairs that you see often like oil changes, it is helpful to be able to provide a ballpark price. Overall, it’s important to make sure your service writers know what your company’s policy is for giving estimates over the phone.

10. Confirm information when concluding calls

Before ending a call with a customer, it is important to make sure your service writer has answered and addressed all of the caller’s questions and concerns. If they booked an appointment, it is a good idea to repeat back to them the appointment time as well as what their service is for. This can help catch any errors in the booking or remind the caller to put it on their schedule.

Following these rules will greatly increase the likelihood of a caller visiting your shop for a repair. Making sure your service writers are up-to-date on proper phone etiquette will make their job easier and will promote a more professional representation of your business. Autoshop Solutions offers a great way to help make sure your service writers are following these rules through advanced phone tracking. Not only can we track how many calls you are getting, but we can also record calls so you can listen back to them and see how your employees are performing. This is a great tool to use for training purposes and will help your service writers improve their phone etiquette which ultimately will be to your shop’s benefit!

Written by Jacob Massengill

Jacob Massengill is a Marketing Account Manager at Autoshop Solutions. He has spent most of his life working in the automotive industry and gained much experience fulfilling various roles at his father's auto repair shop in Durham, NC. He prioritizes client needs above all else and makes sure they are completely taken care of. When he’s not assisting clients with their marketing efforts, Jacob enjoys spending time with his wife, family and friends. He loves going to local sporting events to watch UNC Basketball, Durham Bulls Baseball and Carolina Hurricanes Hockey. He also enjoys nerding out and playing games with friends as well as watching Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or just about any superhero movie.

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