You only have a few seconds to make a lasting first impression on the telephone with prospects who call your center seeking enrollment information. When you cannot answer and one of your staff must take a message, that teacher, aide, or cook holds a potential new enrollment in their hands. It’s your job to help them know how to best handle the call until you can take over with the process that converts that inquiry into a center visit. Here are a few tips beyond basic telephone skills to help them make that first impression a good one.
1. Make sure messages are taken accurately. How many times have you returned the call only to find the number was written incorrectly, or you asked for Mrs. Hansen when her name is Hammond?
2. Offer a positive explanation for the director’s absence. I have heard everything from She’s gone to the bank to I don’t know where she went or when she’ll be back. Teach staff a standard response, such as, Sherri, our director, is not available right now. At what number may she call you as soon as she can do so?
3. Ask before putting the caller on hold. If staff must put the caller on hold, have them ask first, Would you please hold for a moment? Wait till the caller responds before clicking them off. When the staff member returns, he or she should greet the caller with a courteous phrase, such as, Thank you for holding, Mrs. Brown.
Teaching any staff who answers the telephone to practice these techniques will help make them your marketing partners and help you convert more calls to the visits that lead to new enrollment.