Many people say “your manager needs to smile when they’re on the phone”. The problem with that statement is that you can’t possibly see any correlation between smiling and treating customers well when they call, nor can anyone measure their level of “smiling” unless they are sitting there looking at them. So what are the actual keys to a successful manager when it comes to phone etiquette.
- JUST ANSWER THE PHONE FOR STARTERS. You would be amazed at how many RV park managers simple ignore the ringing telephone. They would claim they were too busy to answer, but the truth is that they could have easily done so, but elected to let it go to voicemail. In the old days, RV park owners were completely at the mercy of managers simply refusing to answer the phone, but today you can port your RV park’s phone number through a service such as Who’s Calling and it will track every incoming call and whether it was answered or not, and then record the call. When you first turn this type of control on, you may be amazed at how many calls go unanswered. For an RV park, this one stat will kill your business.
- USE THE CORRECT GREETING. The manager should answer the phone with something like “Valley Trails RV Park, how can I help you?” and never “hello” or even worse “what?”. You will know the answer to this question when you listen to the recordings from Who’s Calling or a similar service. And you will probably be horrified when you first listen to the tapes, so you better brace yourself. Many managers put in zero effort, and the problem is that it sets a terrible first impression for your property.
- LISTEN MORE THAN TALK. Some managers are so excited that when the customer calls, they do all the talking. While being sociable is a good attribute, the caller is supposed to be made into a customer and not a companion. By getting straight to business and listening to what the customer is really after, it makes the transaction flow better and saves valuable time which … allows you to answer the next call instead of letting it go to voicemail.
- BE EASY TO BUY FROM AND CLOSE THE SALE. When the manager answers the phone, the whole purpose is to get a reservation. Nothing else matters. This is somewhat of an art form and every manager will approach it differently – and it’s all good as long as the RV park wins. But there are basically two skills that get the customer there: 1) doing whatever is necessary to meet the customer’s needs and then 2) close the sale. Ten different managers will arrive at ten different pitches with ten different styles, but the only unit of measurement for this is success.
- KNOW THE AREA – AND ACTIVITIES – BETTER THAN ANYONE. RV Park managers need to be masters at understanding each and every activity near to the property. They should able to beat the local tourism director in a trivia contest. They can gain this ability by studying each and every local activity on a constant basis, combing through internet calendars and talking with the local tourism directors, as well as sampling these offerings themselves on their day off.
- THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. At the end of the day, the best manager is the one that follows one simple axiom that “the customer is always right”. Many RV owners can be eccentric or have special needs. Some are just chatty and want to talk about everything from the weather to politics. But the good RV park manager understands that their job is to “please people” and that no customer should ever feel anything less happy when they hang up the phone. And that even includes when they fail to make a reservation, because there’s always next time.
A manager who displays the skills shown above will always be successful – whether they do so with a “smile” or not. And a manager that smiles from ear-to-ear yet never answers the phone will always fail.