You Can't Put A Price On It
Quality never comes cheap ...
Posted on: 12/08/2013 By: Jacqui Frost
As business owners, we hate to admit to losing a client. So imagine how I felt last year when I lost three and all for the same reason! They were all part of a franchise organisation and were encouraged by their franchisor to switch from our service to another ...
Just like the story of the Prodigal Son, we love it when a client comes back to us!
The franchisor promised them better prices and better service. At the time I wasn't in a position to negotiate. I was not able to match the hours offered by the other service and I was not prepared to undervalue the service we offer by matching the bargain basement prices.
It was a difficult time for us as they were amongst our favourite group of clients. I retained three other franchisees but for a while I worried that we might lose them too. But as Julie, the owner of the 3rd largest franchise in the UK said:
"If we have 24/7 phone answering that means I have to work 24/7. Currently my clients know they need to give me 2 working days' notice for a cancellation, if we went 24/7 I'd need to be checking all weekend for cancellations on Monday with no time to talk to my staff or rejig other clients. Besides, you know me and how things work - I wouldn't trade that for the world."
When Julie said that I couldn't help but feel a little sad that the other three didn't feel the same way. A bit like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son, I worried about how they were getting on. When you know someone's business inside out, speak to their regular callers every week and know the business owners idiosyncrasies', you can't help but worry that they might not be getting the service they are looking for.
So in some ways it wasn't a surprise when one of the owners rang me back and said they were unhappy with the service they were using. The list of issues they had seemed endless:
messages going missing,
the new service was treating all franchises like branches of head office, rather than individual businesses,
the times for booking appointments were never kept to,
if a caller didn't book an estimate, the information wasn't recorded so the business owner couldn't get in touch again,
"We want to come back," she said. "The Genies know what they are doing. You take your time over my calls, not rush them off the phone. It all worked so much better when you were answering my calls. Now what can we do about the prices."
It turned out that the three of them who had moved elsewhere all wanted to come back. Just like the prodigal son they returned, knowing that life was better at home than out there in the big wide world.
They did try to use their bulk buying power to negotiate better prices. They also promised to talk to other franchisees about switching over. After a chat with each of them though, they recognised that our service is more than worth the price that they pay. Which was a good thing otherwise we could have faced complaints of favouritism from the franchisees that had remained faithful - just like the elder brother in the story!
So for a call handling service that stands out amongst the rest, call us on +44 (0) 1604 529170 or click here to ping over an email and we can talk about what makes us quality call handlers not poor message takers.
Until next time ...
THE OFFICE GENIE
I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.
Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!
I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.
Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!