How to answer the phone for your home service business

As simple as it may seem, answering the phone in a professional manner is an important skill that many people haven't yet mastered...and it makes sense since it's not taught in school and is often overlooked in on the job training. However, it’s never too late to learn! Our easy to follow guide walks you through the key points of answering the phone in a professional manner and what to do once you have a client on the other end of the line.

Location & mindset

Before answering a call, check your frame of mind and surroundings.  If you are very distracted or in the middle of a noisey job, you might not be able to listen as carefully as you would like to regarding your client's needs. While you know that you are a caring home service pro, your client might not understand this when they hear a jumble of background noise.

When answering the phone, make sure that you are in a somewhat quiet place and are in the right frame of mind to enthusiastically assist your caller. Let your colleagues or family members know that you are on a call, or develop a hand signal to instantly communicate this to them.

However, if you aren't in a quiet location and can't quickly get to one, it is still usually better to answer the phone and tell your client you will give them a call back shortly. You can also check out a few of the options of noise reducing headphones below.

It starts with Hello!

Whenever you hear a ring and reach to pick up your phone, remember that relationship building with your client, supplier, etc. starts the minute you accept the call. The being said, try to pick up your call as soon as possible...preferably when you hear that first ring. Take a moment to gain composure and then begin the conversation with a friendly greeting such as “good morning!”as this sounds much better than simply jumping to  “How can I help you” and creates a good first impression.

A key component of answering the phone for your home service business is stating your business name so that clients know they have reached the right number. You may also want to include a simple phrase about your business such as "here to help you will all of your power washing needs"

Here are our five suggestions for initial greetings to get you started:

  • "Hi! this is Nick with Nick's Commercial Cleaning. How can I help you today?"
  • "Good morning! This is Bob with Bob's handyman service. what can I help you with today?"
  • "Hello, this is Craig from Sparkle Clean Power Washing. How may I help you?"
  • "Good afternoon, you have reached Sherry from MidCity Electric. How can I assist you today?"
  • "Hello, This is Mark's plumbing service, serving the Houston area since 1990. How can I help you today?"

Your tone of voice is also important in conveying a sense of warmth and goodwill to your customer. As silly as it sounds, when you smile (even if they can't see you) your voice usually tends to sound more welcoming to callers. Never underestimate the power of a friendly tone of voice.

Say the name

ou want to begin gathering information about your client as soon as possible so that you can not only begin addressing their needs, but can demonstrate to them that you care about their business. This natural first step of this process is getting the caller's name. Studies have shown that when you repeat a person's name back to them when you are speaking with them, it creates a positive and lasting impression. For example, once you know a customer's name, you could use it in a sentence such as "Looking forward to being in touch about your bathroom renovation, Chris".  By simply slipping the customer's name into the sentence, you are harnessing the power of the customer's first impression in a way that benefits both you and the customer - you get more business and they know that you appreciate them. It is also helpful to remember their name for when you need to save their contact information.

Pay attention to language

The language you use matters in conveying a sense of business professionalism. Part of basic good phone etiquette is reframing from using profane language or cursing. You should also be aware of avoiding confusing slang words that customers outside of your specific industry would not understand. The exception to this would be when you are demonstrating your level of knowledge to the customer. Sometimes it can be helpful to show that you understand the in-depth specifics of the job by naming a few ofc the details related to the job at hand. For example, if you are a flooring specialist, you may want to briefly run through the various options for wood flooring and the relative difficulty or ease of installing each.

Be of Service

Always start your call off by asking what you can do to help your caller. This shows that you are dedicated to your clients and ready to be of service. It is also important to give your caller your undivided attention and to provide a quick answer to any questions they may have. Be an active listener by asking questions related to the job they are calling about or looking for ways that you might be able to assist the potential client beyond just what they say they are looking for.

Take Note

If you find that the caller is giving you quite a bit of information about a potential job, or the duration of the phone call is on the longer side, you might find it helpful to keep a notepad handy to jot down key information or bullet points of the call. Even if it feels that you have enough information for a job, you want to be careful not to cut a client off mid sentence. It is generally better to let the caller finish what they were saying before you provide your solution, as this demonstrates that you care about what they have to say.

Path forward

By the end of the phone call you should have a good idea about next steps to take with the client, whether that's sending out a job quote or arranging a time to inspect the job site. You should also be sure to create a new contact for the caller that includes the caller's info and any relevant details about the potential job. This way you can follow up if necessary and avoid any lost business due to inability to contact them again.

The right tools

If you are frequently out on a job during the hours when you receive the most customer calls, it may be worth it for you to invest in hands-free tools such as earbuds that allow you to continue work while you speak. There are a variety of earbuds out there for every price range, from apple AirPods to earbuds under $30 at your local Walmart.

Plan ahead

Part of representing your home service business well over the phone is planning ahead for times when you might not be able to get to the call in time. Setting up a professional voice mail message is one key component of this. Another important aspect of planning ahead for potential missed calls is setting up an automated text message that can be sent out to callers when you are unable to get to the phone. ProPhone's automated response tools enable you to stay connected to your customers even when you step away from the phone. ProPhone offers automated text capabilities in addition to a separate business phone line all managed within a convenient app on your existing cellphone.

If you have any questions about answering the phone, creating. professional voicemail message, or setting up automated texts, the ProPhone team is always happy to help!

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