The power of the phone

When was the last time you called a business and had to work your way through numerous automated messages before you could talk to a person? How do you respond when a business calls you? It probably depends on the context of the call. Unfortunately, many people in the financial industry take the power of the phone call for granted. The phone is a great marketing tool if every conversation is well worded, professional, and helpful.

What happens when someone calls your business? Does someone answer the phone or does your phone system pick it up? How many prompts do you have to go through in order to speak with someone? Do you let the caller know upfront which button to press to speak with someone? Think about how frustrated you get when trying to navigate through phone prompts. This is what you are putting your own members and potential members through. Think of the increased sales potential when a person is speaking with your members compared to a machine. If I am able to get my answer through a phone prompt the call is now ended. However; if I was speaking with someone who answered my phone call they could identify other needs I have and cross sell those products and services. This does not mean destroy your phone machines, just revisit the set up. A telephone prompt system cannot build relationships with your members. Only the people who work for you can establish those relationships.

You have new services and great new rates that you want to promote to both current and potential members. You send out a well thought out direct mail piece. The average return on direct mail is 1% – 2%. However, if you send out that same direct mail piece and follow it up with a professional phone call your return rate jumps 10% – 12%. The increase doesn’t even include all the additional sticky services and other products that can be cross sold during the phone call. When done properly you will not only have the loan or CD you will end up with the primary relationship and valuable feedback from your members. Technology is a great tool and it has made many things easier for us. Technology cannot however establish long lasting business relationships with members, only people can.

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