Monday, August 3, 2009

Pick up the Phone (Part 3 of 5)

Back in May, I wrote this blog post about about some pretty common service failures in the title industry. I promised to expand on the 5-point plan. I discussed Part 1: Setting Expectations here, Part 2: Over-communicate here, and then got busy. The last week and a half has given me some great material for Part 3:

Part 3: Pick up the phone when it rings!

We had a team that was struggling. Our title officer had done such a great job getting new contracts in that the processing team couldn't take all the incoming phone calls AND get the HUDs out. I was getting some *ahem* direct calls from agents and brokers. And deservedly so. All the agents wanted was someone to either pass along poignant file information or to request something from us.

The solution

We set up ring groups, whereby those phone calls rang to two other phones if not picked up on the first ring. One phone was manned by one of our sales managers. The other by me. It was an enlightening experience. The first day was a little rocky while we worked through our answer scripts and gameplan. Hey, we weren't familiar with the files or the particular agents, buyers and sellers who were calling. But by Day 2, we had the system down pretty good.

What we learned?

Earth will not shatter with this statement, but it bears stating: Customers just want to speak with a live, helpful body. Even if they don't have all the answers. Many of the calls were just to relay information ("We are looking to close on the 31st at 2pm in McLean"), to confirm receipt of a deliverable ("Did you get the seller information form I sent?") or to check on the status of something ("Did the loan package arrive yet?"). And yes, we heard that last one a lot.

The shining moment?

A lender remarked to us on Friday, "You guys are the only title company answering the phone today!" :)