For new Experts or Experts new to premium services, live phone calls with customers can be intimidating and full of what-ifs. What if they reject my phone call offers? What if I cannot answer their questions on the spot? What if they are located in another country?
While these are valid concerns, there are major advantages for fulfilling phone calls as well. Phone calls are a great way to earn additional money, offer more value and build trust with customers.
To help you get started, we’ve buzzed a few phone savvy Experts to chime in with their best phone call tips and they answered in a HUGE way.
1. Let us help
Many Experts are reluctant to offer phone calls simply because they don’t think customers would accept. Nathan, Tech Expert, admits, “I sometimes feel guilty sending a phone support offer myself if I feel that the question isn't worth the cost or it is simple enough that a call really just shouldn't be necessary.”
With the recent auto phone call offer feature, we initiate the ask and let you know if customers are interested in phone calls. “The auto phone call offer excels at putting phone support on the table at a reasonable price for the novice user,” says Dustin, Tech Expert.
2. No phone? No problem
We surveyed Experts on why they wouldn't accept phone call requests and a large percentage said it’s because they don't have good alternatives to their personal phones. Nathan suggests, “I utilize a Google Voice number.” Google Voice is a free service that gives you a new phone number to make and receive calls, voicemails and texts from your own mobile phone or computer.
Dustin adds, “For a time, I used Skype.” Skype is a free voice over IP (VoIP) service that allows you to make calls with other Skype users. This is useful for when your customers already have Skype accounts.
3. What about international fees?
We get thousands of questions from international customers every week so chances are, you’ve seen a few of them. But what do you do if those customers request phone calls? Dustin answers, "I use Skype. The great thing about a Skype subscription is that regardless of what country a customer is in, Skype has affordable pay-as-you-go and flat rate plans that will allow you to call."
If your customer also has a Skype account, you can make free Skype-to-Skype calls. This is the same for Google Hangouts and Apple FaceTime, depending on which service both you and the customer have.
4. Keep your number safe
It is generally a good idea to keep your phone number private because it prevents customers from contacting you directly. When that happens, you are not credited for your time. If you’re using your home or mobile phone, Tan, Boat Expert, proposes, “I use my personal cell phone and just *67 before I call the customer.” Click here to learn how to use *67.
You can also get a Google Voice phone number or Skype account specifically for JustAnswer.
5. Get over the fear
It’s natural to feel a little anxiety when talking on the phone with people you don’t know. But it may help to remind yourself that your customers are dealing with personal problems and counting on you to help guide them. Nathan advises, “Don't be afraid. Talking to a customer on the phone is really no different than in person. Treat them as if you were there with them.”
How do you do that? He adds, “Show the ‘smile’ in your voice and have a positive attitude. Too often we are getting into a call after a tense or difficult exchange via Q&A and they are frustrated. You need to be able to calm them down, show empathy, and express a genuine desire to help them.”
6. Identify the right customers for phone calls
With the auto phone call offer feature, the customer initiates the request rather than Experts. But, you decide whether you want to fulfill the request or not. How do you know if you should accept the call? One way is by reading the customer's cues. “Many customers, especially the tech-phobic and older crowd just don't like to type. They don't understand what you mean when you ask for more information, and being on a call helps you to better direct the conversation where it needs to go to collect the necessary information,“ offers Nathan.
Experts are really good at sensing the depth of questions. If you feel that too much time will be spent going back and forth on Q&A or if you’ve shared a document, suggest a phone call to better help and follow up.
7. Know your stuff before you make the call
You are all Experts in your fields and we are truly confident of that. However, there are still times when you're caught off-guard by a question or simply need to double-check some information. With phone calls, you don’t really have the luxury to research. Dustin recommends, “My first piece of advice would be that before you accept the phone call offer, ask yourself ‘how comfortable are you talking about the specific problem and explaining the solutions to it?’ If you feel very confident, absolutely accept the phone call offer. You will save yourself and the customer a lot of time as well as generate more income for the company, and yourself.” James agrees, “If you really know your stuff, I would recommend you try phone calls at least once! You may find it's easier than you think.”
We suggest that if you do get into a situation where you’re unsure of how to answer a question on the phone, let the customer know you will verify the information and confirm in detail via Q&A after the call. This will give you a chance to do more research while showing the customer that you are thorough.
8. Cut right to the chase
Time is money for Experts so a frequent feedback we get about phone calls is that they take up a lot of time. But James, Car Expert, counters, “When you speak with customers on the phone, you can save hours of typing back and forth.”
How? James adds, “You always run into some questions that may be a little confusing. It's easier to understand a customers’ temperament and answer their questions if you speak to them. Cut right to the chase and deal with their main issues.” To James’ point, if you realize quickly that a question is too complicated to resolve over Q&A, it may save you time to hop straight to the phone.
9. Do more with phone
The great thing about mobile technology today is that you’re no longer limited to just voice calls. With services like Skype, Google Voice and Apple FaceTime, you can take phone calls to the next level by integrating video. “Skype video can be a major asset when it comes to troubleshooting hardware issues. Just have them point their phone or webcam at the problem so you can visually see it,” notes Dustin.
10. Make more money
While this is not a phone call tip, we like to remind Experts why you should fulfill more phone call requests. “I like the one on one with the customers plus the money that comes with it,” says Tan. When you fulfill a phone call request, you are automatically given a 5-star rating, payout for the original question and payout for the premium service. James adds, “I feel if I was able to take every question and make it an premium service call, I would double my actual income with JA.”
Thoughts? Got your own tips? Share them below.