With spring just around the bend, our thoughts are turning to growth. Flower beds bursting with color. Gardens filled with sprouts. All things that seem so natural, but require time and effort on the part of the gardener. Much like gardeners, home care agency owners and operators sow a lot of time and effort into marketing and home care sales so they too can see growth. However, there is one common problem area that can become a blight to growth — inquiry management.
Why Inquiry Management Demands Your Attention
Other sales and marketing efforts – building a website, carefully crafting brand language, building relationships and awareness in the community – are designed to drive potential clients to call to inquire about services. A call that becomes a client represents a direct return on investment. But if your company can’t convert the call, the marketing and sales efforts (and funds) are wasted.
Usually those calling your agency do so because they liked what they read on your website, social media channels, or other marketing material that you’ve distributed in the community, and perhaps they have heard or read favorable reviews. It’s now your turn to prove that message to be genuine. An inquiry call is the first opportunity to defend your brand’s messaging.
Imagine if you bought a packet of seeds. On the front is a field of bright pink tulips with the words “Perfectly pink in every way!” These will be just the right pop of color for your flower garden. You plant. You water. You wait. Then one day you walk outside and see a bed of pale, almost white flowers everywhere. So much for the perfect pop of pink!
The seed packet didn’t live up to its promise, and the gardener most likely won’t buy that brand again. Similarly, if your agency touts itself as caring, friendly, and empathetic, but a caller feels rushed, not listened to, and doesn’t understand how your services meet their needs, they won’t engage with your company for services.
How to Spot Inquiry Issues and Solve Them
In a garden, it is easy to visually spot problems. For home care inquiries, spotting an issue takes a little more investigation. To get started, below are some key indicators that you may have inquiry management issues:
- You’re seeing a low ROI on marketing and sales efforts. Putting in significant marketing efforts and seeing little pay-off in the way of sales could indicate that inquiry calls aren’t being handled properly.
- A high number of calls go to voicemail instead of being answered. Every agency gets busy, but if there is a pattern of calls going to voicemail as opposed to being handled by a trained staff member, you’re likely letting many hard-earned sales opportunities get away.
- Inquiry call training is not conducted regularly, and no scripts are being used. In order to answer and handle calls in a way that leads to optimal conversions, your staff needs to be trained on how to lead the caller through the process and respond to objections. Scripts can ensure that they are responding to objections in a preplanned and consistent manner.
- No monitoring of calls being done for training purposes. Monitoring calls is essential if you want to make sure your team is following the training and taking every step to schedule an in-home assessment. At corecubed, we have seen a lot of success helping agencies monitor calls using call tracking systems, allowing them to notice any patterns they would like to correct and other opportunities to improve call handling. Monitoring allows you to evaluate the consumer’s perspective of the status of those who answer the phone. Does the representative seem emotionally disconnected? Are they too busy to dedicate time without distractions? Is compassion fatigue a problem? Addressing issues proactively enables your team to take steps to improve inquiry calls and, as a result, improve your conversion rate.
- Late afternoon calls are shorter than morning calls. An inquiry call can come at any time of the day, and it is crucial that those that come toward the end of the business day receive just as much time and attention as those in the morning. When staffers are going through their end-of-day routines, taking time with an inquiry may feel like a low priority. But taking a message or rushing through the calls can turn off potential clients and lead them to call another agency that is more available.
- Lack of follow-up. Often, callers will need time to consider their care options and discuss solutions with other family members. Use this time to stay in touch with them to remain top-of-mind. Follow up via phone and email to see if there is anything else they need from you, and provide education and additional information about home care. Send a visually appealing, professional-looking sales flyer with additional information about your services, which they can circulate within their families as they are in the decision-making process. Don’t forget to ask for feedback on your process, demonstrating that the customer experience is important to you and aiding your quest to continue to improve the process.
Inquiry calls are your opportunity to listen and respond to the needs of members in your community. Be on a problem-solving mission for families who need help and guide them to a solution by adopting a consultative sales approach. Ensure everyone who takes incoming calls are well-trained on the consultative sales process and proper handling of inquiry calls when they are hired, and retrain on this process annually.
Sales training can set everyone in your agency up for inquiry call success, and the in-home marketing and sales experts at corecubed can help! Our home care sales coaches offer a broad range of experience in achieving positive growth in a variety of settings. Our in-depth knowledge of home care sales provides an unparalleled level of insight for home care agencies of all sizes. Whether you are a start-up, an established independent in-home care agency, or part of a franchise, we can help you to see better results when the phone rings with inquiry management training. Contact us today to explore options for our cost-effective, no-commitment home care sales training and watch your sales grow to new heights.