Today’s self storage blog is from Kay Johnson, who is one of the friendly voices you will hear at PhoneSmart on most evenings promoting your storage business.
Voices in the Night
It is unsettling to think of our callers as disjointed voices. In order to establish a rapport with any caller you must put a human face on them. When I answer a call I close my eyes for a second and get a picture that seems to fit the voice. It works very well for me to connect with the caller.
The soft voiced young woman with an unhappy toddler fussing in her ear becomes my lovely daughter in law. She is always on the phone to gather information for my son while he is working. I can see her trying to finish preparing dinner, folding a clean load of laundry, jotting down the answers she is getting and trying to keep my grandson quiet enough that we can both hear and keeping him in sight. I always try to give a little sympathy and encouragement with the storage information. Sometimes all a stressed out young mother needs is a little laugh and to know that someone else has survived it all.
The next caller might be my older son. He has never been in storage and wants to know the ins and outs without letting on that he is a “newbie” so he will not be “taken”. I can almost see him tugging at his earlobe as though the questions are stored there. A little patience will go a long way with this caller. There will be a seemingly endless stream of questions, some that you have never been asked. Take a deep breath, sit back and relax. He will trust you and rent from you if you don’t rush him.
Then there is the abrasive, unhappy voice of my next-door neighbor. She is a decent person but it seems that life just never works out for her and she is always unhappy and demanding. She seems to be always waiting for disappointment and geared up for an injustice. Patience and a voice with a smile in it will do wonders for this caller. You may also get her life’s story or at least the story of today but if we just keep our focus you can win her over.
My first ex husband is next. He is angry at the whole world and cannot get in the gate. Holding an even, professional tone through all of the screaming and obscenities is really difficult. There really is not a good outcome unless he can get all of his aggressions and hostility out. I take a deep breath, think happy thoughts, (I have outlived him) and hope for the call to end. Sometimes when they run down they are repentant and sometimes will even apologize to you when it has suddenly occurred to them that they have been ungentlemanly. (However, do not hold your breath)
My cousin Nadine is next. There are children shouting and dogs barking in the background. Her husband is sitting across the table from her and prompting her with questions. He gives her the question, she asks, you answer, she relays it to him. The dogs bark and the children shout at the dogs to stop barking. Nadine shouts at the dogs, the children and her husband who has prompted with yet another question. The noise and confusion levels escalate but some how you get the agreements and reserve a unit for them. The children shout, the dogs bark, her husband leaves the room and she accepts the confirmation number with a huge sigh of relief – not unlike the one that you have when the call has ended.
Our last call today is my friend from church. She is a businesswoman and very matter of fact. She wants an answer without any chitchat and seems annoyed when you try to give all of the information available. You only need to hang in with her but make sure that you get the agreements and sell the store. She is looking for the best deal and uses a slightly abrupt attitude to make sure she gets the best information. If you let her rush you she will be on to the next because she did not get your best and she knows it. By the time the call ends your professionalism will win her over and she will sign off with a smile that you can hear.
This small technique makes the calls seem less impersonal and helps to relax with the caller and you don’t feel like you have spent hours talking to the jumbled papers tacked to the cubicle walls.
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