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“She Sold A Hot Water Heater…”

“She sold a hot water heater…”

Last Monday, I conducted a customer service seminar for a client. The company owner’s daughter works the phones and I trained her on how to transform “price shopper” calls from Transactional to Relational.

This transformation occurs when a CSR asks open-ended questions that invite the caller into a relationship, not a transaction.

The cost of training is always less than the cost of ignorance.

On Tuesday, I phoned the company owner and asked for seminar feedback.

“My daughter sold a hot water heater this morning,” he said. “It was a price shopper call and my daughter asked the relationship-building questions. The caller told her that he liked how she handled his concerns.”

My client is elated. He received ROI within 24 hours.

How do you ask relationship-building questions?  Start your question with a brief and therapeutic phrase, such as: “We can help you with that, I just need to gather a little information first.”  The word “gather” is intentional and descriptive.

Then ask about their street address.  Say, “May I have your address?” Then when the customer says their address, you say: “Oh, we serve lots of families in that neighborhood.”  Callers like to talk about themselves.

I feel good when my clients apply the techniques and strategies that yield improved results.

This reinforces something I learned many years ago: The cost of training is always less than the cost of ignorance.


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Steve Coscia

The road from professional musician to thirty-year customer service veteran to best-selling author and speaker is not a typical career path, but Steve Coscia may have started a new trend.

Coscia is one of the most widely published and quoted authorities in the customer service industry. He has published more than 200 articles, four books and a series of training DVDs. His college curriculum is taught at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and Canada.

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