Editor's Blog


To Happy Call or Not...That is the Question

August 15, 2011
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First, we must define what “Happy Calls” are. They are calls made to your customers right after you’ve been there to do service or install work.  

Here are my general thoughts about doing Happy Calls:  
    1. These calls don’t tend to get you the testimonials you should be  seeking. Testimonials are critical to any effective sales and marketing programs. So, it takes great skill and training on how to get this information over the phone and then type it up and either email it or send it out via snail mail and hope that the potential testimonial and feedback actually comes back. Be aware if you can’t really use what they say over the phone for a testimonial. Happy Calls become just another step in the process. Plus, if you call right after the work is done, the customers aren’t necessarily ready to testify how great your work is or how much they love you.  

    2. They are done by too many companies in a misguided attempt to verify what is and isn’t being done in the field by their techs. But, the only true ways to know what is and isn’t happening is to either ride along and observe for yourself or to create a mystery shopping program. Happy Calls are never a replacement for these two vital programs.  

    3. These calls tend to catch a working couple who is trying to leave after you’re done with the work at an inopportune time, so it’s more of an intrusion than a welcomed call.  

    4. If you can’t or won’t do it each and every time (especially during the busy season) with each and every customer, it’s actually worse to do it at all because you trained them that you care but not always.  

    5. Another way to go is to have either your techs or salespeople use a Customer Satisfaction Survey with room for the Customer to fill in their comments. Hopefully, their written comments are favorable since they’re the only things of value in your future sales and marketing efforts once you gained permission to use them, and this should be right on the form itself. You can also capture a picture of a happy smiling customer, which makes the testimonial come to life and moves it way up the power meter for what we want and desire.

Do you believe your techs will go through the Customer Satisfaction Survey process with each and every customer every call they run? Maybe…maybe not?  

It’s true that if a tech senses that the customer is not totally happy with them and/or the work they’ve done, they’re likely to give them low marks and bad feedback and that’s good reason to just skip doing this. And if you were them, you’d do the same.  

A way around this is to make it a habit to either email (customer’s email addresses are a must these days), or snail mail them after every call your company does. It makes it easy to have your Customers give you their feedback on their schedule and not yours. If they’re good comments you’ll want to arrange permission to stop back and check things over, so you have a chance to convince them to also let you take a picture to go with their testimonial.  

Pictures ramp up the effectiveness of any testimonial you’ll ever get. Potential customers will more easily identify with your existing happy customers when they see people they can identify with.  

Knowing what you know now, you still think you can avoid the pitfalls and shortcomings of Happy Calls? Here’s a basic Happy Call Process that you can customize:

Happy Call Questions and Procedure

CSR: “Hi it’s Al from Appleseed Plumbing, Heating and Cooling and I’m just calling to ask a few questions about the work we just did. Is now a good time to spend five minutes tops on the phone?”  

If they say “No,” just say thanks and encourage them to fill out the Customer Satisfaction Survey you will be sending them.  

If they say “Yes,” choose three to five questions from the list below or customize it to better fit what you do and what you want to verify.   

Remember, it’s their comments that mean the most. Then, continue on with:  
    1. Was your phone call handled in an efficient and courteous manner?  
    2. Did our Technician arrive on time?  
    3. Did our Technician wear shoe covers?  
    4. Was the Technician courteous and professional?  
    5. Was the job done in a timely and professional manner?  
    6. Overall were you pleased with the service [or installation] work performed?  
    7. Would you use our company again?  
    8. Comments:  
    _______________________________________________________  
    _______________________________________________________  
    _______________________________________________________

The funny thing about surveying your customers whether it’s through Happy Calls or Customer Satisfaction Surveys is they tend to give you higher marks than you would have thought possible.

If they’re not as good as you’d like you can begin to formulate how to improve the level of service and value you’re providing your customers today. Either way you will be better off for having surveyed them.

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