Marketing GPS:
Navigating Your Marketing Options

Train Your Call Handlers to be Your Ambassadors
By Liz Harsch
of Tailor-Made Advertising
(Torrance, CA)

Call Source screenshot
April 2010

I am always amazed with how little receptionists and call handlers are trained.  Yet they are often the first and last person from your company to interact with your customer - and often fall short of your expectations.  As a result, you may be sending the wrong impression to callers, and those first impressions really count.  In fact, these days, they count even more because everyone is able to put on a good face online and in their materials, however that first human contact either delivers that professionalism or it does not.

The best way to recreate your customers' experience is to monitor your calls.   This can be done in person, but you will not hear the customer's side of the conversation.  That is why I suggest adding call tracking.  Not only does it give you the actual results of your marketing efforts (with ad sources and names and numbers to call back), but it offers reports (missed calls, length of call, call grading) and a call audio feature so you hear the customer and the call handler at your company communicate in real time.  It is very illuminating when your ads say number one in customer service, but your monitoring finds unhelpful call handlers putting people on hold until they hang up from frustration.

When your calls are handled well, it is the best opportunity for new business as well as the best way to retain your loyal customers.  That makes call training one of the most cost-effective investments you can make.  In fact, with the right training, your call handlers can even be taught to encourage customers to buy more of your goods and services.  Isn't that the ultimate goal?

Once you are monitoring your calls, you will want to hold a call training session to show your call handlers the way you would like them to answer and troubleshoot your calls.  It is important to encourage your employees to improve their service rather than using the technology to scold them.  Keep in mind that at most companies, no one has trained them how to effectively answer the phone and be an ambassador for your company until now.

A good call response trainer will ask company management to fill out a questionnaire about the company and its customer service claims.  They will then monitor the calls before the training to see what needs to be addressed.  When they meet with the staff, they will know their strengths and weaknesses, as well as management's preferences about addressing callers.  They can then use call monitoring to show handlers how the customers react when the calls are handled well and when they're not.  This typically results in a "light bulb" moment when the call handler sees that they set the tone for the interaction.  In fact, they will see how important their role really is to the customer and help them see themselves as an important part of the company's team.

Liz Harsch has been helping companies make the most of their Marketing and Advertising plans since 1982.  Her background in small business management helps her understand the financial constraints that small businesses face, as well as the need to initiate and expedite an effective growth plan to achieve your 2010 sales goals.

For more information on tracking your customer service and improving your call handlers' skills, contact Tailor-Made Advertising in Torrance at (310) 791-6300 or email us at

Tailor-Made Advertising
23670 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 205
Torrance, CA 90505

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Liz Harsch
Liz Harsch has been a Market Consultant for retail and service companies in Greater LA since 1982.  To learn about her Torrance company visit
(310) 791-6300

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