At every Rapid Implementation Workshop (www.RapidImplementationWorkshop.com), I take attendees through an exercise of secret shopping each other’s businesses.
The scenario we give them is this: You are the Operations Manager of a company with 26 employees. Your server keeps rebooting, and your current IT company can’t come out to fix it until Tuesday of next week (three days from now). You’re fed up, and you’re calling to find another IT company who can help. The question is, “Is this something you can help me with and what do you charge?”
In the 22 classes I’ve run, each with 20+ business owners in the room, NOT ONE company has ever:
- Asked all the appropriate qualifying questions they should. The above scenario is NOT relayed to the person answering the phone UNLESS they ask specific questions, such as “How many employees are at your location? Do you have more than one location? Are you currently working with another IT firm? If yes, why are you calling us? Are you under contract with them?” You get the idea. We have it at the ready in case they ask. They never do.
- Ask for the order. In a rare few cases, and I do mean FEW, the person answering the phone said they could get someone out there that day and did quote a price. However, I’ve NEVER had someone ASK FOR THE ORDER. The instruction for the secret shopper is to play FULL OUT and let them take the order or book the appointment to come out IF they take it that far. Very, very few actually do, and even then, they often fail to take down the person’s name, address and contact information. They just quote a price and shut up.
What I HAVE seen is:
- The phone number listed on the website is wrong, out of order, delivering a fast-busy signal, or otherwise doesn’t go through.
- The call goes straight to voice mail.
- The phone rings five to 10 times before anyone picks up.
- The call goes to the cell-phone voice mail of the person in the class, but their voice mail SOUNDS like it’s their personal cell, not that of a professional service organization.
- The caller is put on hold for 10+ minutes while they “go try to find someone who can help them” because they are clueless about what to do.
- The person said, “We cannot help you unless you’re under a managed services contract,” but never asked any qualifying questions, didn’t try and set the appointment, didn’t explain what managed services is, etc. In SOME cases, they even GAVE THE PHONE NUMBER OF A COMPETITOR.
In one class, the person who answered the phone became extremely agitated and demanded, “How did you get THIS number? Is this a scam?” The person in the room explained it was a new number he had just listed on the website, but he hadn’t shared that with his team.
All of this is a total, complete, MISERABLE FAIL. You SAY you’re the most competent, RESPONSIVE and proactive IT services firm in your area, yet you cannot answer the phone properly? The #1 reason why clients fire their current IT provider is lack of response – and you know this. Yet when I call your company, I get voice mail and have to wait (hope) someone calls me back.