Tuesday, 28 April 2009

How not to get business whilst you are out of the office

A driving school company that I work with decided to do a "secret shopper" campaign to check out the competition. They were interested in prices, of course, but more importantly how an initial enquiry was handled and how the process of getting someone to "sign up" for driving lessons was handled. Here, amazingly, are the result of phoning a number of fellow driving lesson suppliers:

Rating 1-5 where: 1 is sh*t, 2 is poor, 3 is average, 4 a pleasant surprise, 5 professional

Company 1
A woman picked the phone up and said "hello" in a yocal accent!! I had to ask if I had got the right number. She said I'll pass you to Dave. (He sounds very "Somerset"!) I asked about intensive courses for my 'son':

Inital 2 hour assessment is £45 - has a `place' 15 minutes from Wells `off road' for new/under 16's. Then normally Mon-Fri and Mon/Tues of the next week (i.e. 7 days) to pass (yeah right!). Suggests a 6 hour day 10-4pm which is £130/day or £110/day for 5 hours. Is booked up until mid-June. Uses a Fiat Punto.


Company 2
Answerphone - you have an option to ring on the mobile
RATING - 1 - you'd ring someone else!

Company 3
Barry picked the phone up - sounded friendly Instructor since 1988. Has a new Skoda Fabia (dual controls - never!). Doesn't do intensive courses. Has 25 pupils on books (couldn't get his bank balance). 1 hour lessons are £24/hour or £115 for 5. Pupils needs 20-30 lesson on ave. First lesson he goes to Priddy, second lesson on the estate at Wookey Hole Road, Wells. Does Pass Plus which is a motorway lesson for £75. Could fit in next week. Uses an answerphone when out of the office.

RATING - 3/4

Company 4
16 rings and no answer, no message machine

Company 5
This number is charged at a fixed at telephone rate. It is an Interweb design number. Calls from mobiles are charged at a higher rate. This number is not in use.

RATING - Minus 1

Company 6
After 8 rings he answered by saying "hello". He is now retired. Sounded `local'!

Company 7
9 rings - BT answer service. "Leave a message after the tone"

Company 8
8 rings - BT call minder

Company 7
5 rings - mobile voicemail. Had a sexy voice. So might call back

Company 10
Answerphone. Sounds like he is 100 years old!!

Company 11
7 rings. Picked up by a female with a VERY loud screaming child!! She said she was PA to all the drivers. She said "I'll have to get rid of the child - (shout) will someone take Kylie!!". Have 7 female and one male instructor. Most of the females are on maternity leave. Use Megane and Clios. £20/hour - 40 hours of lessons. First lesson is two hours - a `control' lesson. Do Pass Plus - you can get a grant for this. If you want a lady could fit you in next week but the man is the end of June. Sounded very uneducated - meow!


Company 12
Answerphone message - older man - very polite.

Company 13
Voicemail - 'Angela'

Amazing - who would you chose? If you were in a hurry, would you leave a message or just move on to the next company in the phone book and try them? So if you are looking to reduce the amount of business that you do when you are out:

a) don't have a message machine
b) if you do have a machine, make the message boring
c) if you use the family phone number, makse sure the family do not want to help you get business. Ideally make sure there are children in the background.
d) pick up the phone, but don't mention the company name or sound interested in taking the call
e) if you are in, and take the call, tell the caller you are busy and can't do the work until after a certain date
f) don't ever ask for the order!

Even in these "difficult times" trust The Order Prevention Department to be working a hard as it can.

Until next time...