All Industries, Productivity, Operations, Webinar Recap

Back 2 Basics — Call Experience That Performs

Diana Lamirand
April 2nd, 2024
12 Min Read

Do your call center reps ask the right questions on every call? Do they know what your company’s call-booking goals are, or how to achieve them?

In our second Back 2 Basics webinar series, we explore the fundamentals of the phone call experience and tips for improving your call-booking performance. Angie Snow, a ServiceTitan principal industry advisor and call center expert; and Brittany Burgess, a ServiceTitan customer advocacy specialist, explain how to:

  • Know the importance of every call

  • Use ServiceTitan to enhance your call flow

  • Manage a successful call center

Use this webinar recap as a free resource to refresh your ServiceTitan knowledge or gain a deeper understanding of the call center features that can help you maximize every opportunity.

Unraveling the Importance of Every Call

CSRs play an important role for your business, and it’s so much more than simply answering the phones

“Every call that comes in has an opportunity behind it,” Snow says. “Someone called you because they need something from your company, and you as a CSR have an opportunity to find out what they need, to build a connection with them so they trust you to help them, and then to find not only the best solution for them, but the best solution for your company.”

One of the biggest challenges facing call centers today is lower call volume, which then leads to lower booking rates. Other challenges include:

  • What's the best messaging or script to use? 

  • What should the call flow look like? 

  • How do we dispatch for profit?

  • How do we retain CSRs and avoid high turnover?

  • How do we train and develop CSRs to perform at a higher level?

  • How do we use ServiceTitan’s full functionality to get the most out of our call centers? 

First, let’s address the biggest challenge: 

Lower call volume and how to increase the booking rate

CSRs answer the phones, but typically it’s not their responsibility to increase your business’s call volume. 

“A CSR’s job is to capture the leads that do come in, manage those carefully, and book as many of those leads as they can,” Snow says. 

“As a business owner, this is super important to me,” she adds. “When I was managing the marketing and the call center at the same time, I knew how much money I was spending to get the phone to ring.”

To get the most leads coming into the call center, Snow says she spread a really tight budget over digital marketing channels as well as through branding and community events.

“I was spending a certain amount of money every single month just on marketing and lead generation. As a CSR, your job is to capture those leads and manage those leads — because every single one of those leads costs money,” Snow says.

Cost per lead is one of your most important key performance indicators (KPIs), Snow says. The costs associated with a lead involve:

  • Marketing team to generate the lead

  • Call center to book the lead

  • Dispatch center to assign a technician, schedule the job

  • Field techs or install teams to complete the work

And on the back end, CSRs continue to nurture the lead (customer relationship) through follow-up or happy calls, and scheduling recurring services. 

“We have a really important job in the call center to utilize, capture, and manage those leads very carefully,” Snow says.

Calculating cost per lead

To calculate your cost per lead, start by identifying your monthly marketing budget. If your marketing budget is $20,000 per month and you generate 100 leads, your cost per lead is $200.

When your CSRs know each lead costs $200 just to get the phone to ring, they begin to understand the value of every call, Snow says. 

“We need to be really intentional about booking as many leads as we can so we're not just wasting money,” Snow says. “It was really important to me to convey that to my CSRs. They have a direct ability to impact and capture those leads so you're not wasting that money.”

Track call-booking rate

The No. 1 KPI to track for a call center is the call-booking rate

“It's so important because you're capturing those leads, and the more you book, the higher the booking rate,” Snow says.

Calculating your call-booking rate simply means counting how many leads you booked out of the total number of leads that came in. If you received 100 leads and booked 80, your call booking rate would be 80%.

ServiceTitan calculates your call-booking rate right on your modular dashboard in the lower left-hand corner, Burgess says.

And when you scroll down farther, you’ll find a tile marked Call Metrics that provides even more detail.

While a 33.3% call booking rate may seem low, there are likely things your CSRs are doing or not doing that’s driving this number down, Burgess says. For instance, take the green bubble that appears when a call comes in.

Your CSRs need to click on the green bubble whenever they take a call to ensure any actions they take remain associated with that particular call. This helps you track when the call/lead turns into a booked job or identify the reasons for why the call wasn’t booked.

Classifying the reason for not booking also helps to identify customers’ top objections, so you can train your team to know how to overcome them. Objections might include customers not wanting to pay the dispatch fee, customers wanting someone sooner, or customers wanting a price over the phone.

And if CSRs receive marketing calls, robocalls, or someone asking whether your company is hiring, you don’t want those types of calls to count against your CSRs’ call-booking rates.

“We want to think of all of those scenarios and log them into ServiceTitan so when a CSR goes to classify, it's really easy for them to know what to choose,” Burgess says.

If CSRs forget to click the green bubble when answering calls, those calls are classified as abandoned calls, which are indicated as a little red phone icon on your dashboard.

CSR managers should check this list of abandoned calls every day by clicking on the red phone, listening to the calls, then reclassifying them appropriately.

“If your calls are not being classified, that call-booking rate KPI is always going to be wrong,” Snow says. “Train CSRs to classify their own calls and to do it properly, then go in and manage that.”

Utilizing ServiceTitan to Enhance Your Call Flow 

To help you increase call booking rates, we surveyed our customers to identify the most common traits displayed by companies with high call-booking percentages. 

The top characteristics include: 

  • Asking customers at least 5 questions on every call.

“It increased the chance of the call getting booked,” Snow says. “It helped the customer and the CSR establish a connection. It let the customer know they were concerned and they cared.”

  • Booked calls are twice as interactive as the unsuccessful ones.

“This is like a conversation, the CSR and the customer going back and forth, which is usually done by asking questions,” Snow says. “So, the more conversational the calls were, the more likely the call was to be booked.”

  • Agents who talk less than 50% of the time book more calls.

“The key point here is to listen more and talk less, because those numbers add up,” Snow says.

What should a great call flow look like?

Step #1: Start with a greeting. Tone matters, so be friendly, introduce yourself, and offer to help. 

Step #2: Ask the customer questions. What’s the issue? How long has it been happening? What’s the age of the home? When was the last date of service for the equipment? Are you the owner? What’s your billing information?

Step #3: Reassure the customer. Let them know your company can help and they’re in good hands with your team.

Step #4: Offer solutions. Talk about what your company can do. Share value statements about your team and your services.

Step #5: Schedule appointments. Offer available time slots and set expectations about what will happen during the appointment and what customer notifications they will receive.

Step #6: Close the call. Restate appointment details, thank them for calling, nurture that relationship, and end the call in a very friendly manner.

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Optimize your job-booking screen

In ServiceTitan, when you go to your call-booking screen, you’ll find a job summary area, which you can use to train your CSRs to ask the right questions on every call. This gives them the information they need without following a script.

You can also fill out custom fields that show CSRs exactly what to ask on every single call, no matter the industry or issue. 

For specific questions on a certain job type, add this information to your job summary. An example might be: Is your AC not cooling? How old is your system? Is it blowing hot air?

You can also set up new custom fields as needed, and choose how they appear on the call-booking screen and job record.

“I prefer to put my job specific questions in the job summary area because it makes it easier for technicians to see on their mobile app,” Burgess says. “Make sure you're making the right choices for your own company.”

Once you create custom fields, you can choose which job types include those custom fields. To find your job summary list, type in “job types” into the search bar. 

Here, you can be as specific as you like. “I think the more specific, the easier it is to set up those questions,” Burgess says.

Link to recalls, warranties, and leads accurately

It’s important for your CSRs to understand the difference between recalls, warranties, and leads so they know which instructions to follow when trying to help customers and link to existing jobs. 

  • Recalls: You recently provided service for a customer’s issue, and the same issue has returned.

  • Warranty: The customer’s equipment is covered by a warranty for repair.

  • Leads: A tech-generated lead that needs to be followed up and converted to a sale.

From the job-booking screen, you can enable linking to these pre-filled instructions for recalls, warranties, and leads to give CSRs easy access and allow them to link the call to an existing job. If you want to change or add to these instructions, it’s easy to customize your own.

From the call-booking screen, a CSR chooses a customer to see the service history. Here, they’ll see a blue bar pop up with three buttons to choose from as well as a Learn More button for each.

Utilize customer notifications

In ServiceTitan, customer notifications are classified in four ways:

  • Booking confirmations

  • Reminder notifications

  • Dispatch notifications

  • Job-completion surveys

Booking confirmations: When a job is booked, a text or email is sent to the customer with whatever information you want to provide about the scheduled job.

Reminder notifications: Automated emails or texts remind customers about upcoming appointments. This is especially helpful for scheduling recurring services.

Dispatch notifications: Once techs are dispatched, customers receive emails or texts alerting them to know who’s coming, when they will arrive, and even a native GPS link to track the tech.

Job completion surveys: Following job completion, customers receive a text asking them to rate the service.

Managing a Successful Call Center

There are four simple things managers can do to perform their role more effectively and ensure CSRs are maximizing every opportunity.

  1. Know your KPIs

  2. Set goals

  3. Provide training

  4. Measure, report, and improve

As a call-center manager, the most important KPIs to track and monitor for your team include:

  1. Calls taken 

  2. Call conversion rate

  3. Memberships sold 

  4. Call-review scores

  5. Average call time

To determine your call conversion rate or booking percentage, you need to know your call-booking goals, your monthly revenue goals, and your total job average or average ticket.

“That helps you know how many jobs you need to have on the board to meet your monthly revenue goal,” Snow says. “And have that number up there so all your CSRs know exactly how many jobs should be booked, whether it's per month, per week, or per day.”

When your inbound call volume starts declining, train your CSRs to do outbound calling to generate more leads. Also, help CSRs find more efficiency by showing them how to keep calls between two to four minutes.

“That's enough time to gather all that information, ask your five questions, build that connection, and book the call,” Snow says.

How to set your call-booking goal

Use the following formula to establish call-booking goals:

  • X leads needed (per month) x inbound call booking rate percentage = X calls needed (per month)

In the example above, our monthly revenue goal is $100,000, and our total job average is $2,500. If we have a 100% call-booking rate, we would need 40 leads per month. Service companies rarely achieve a 100% call-booking rate, so let’s change that to 80%. That changes the leads needed per month to 50.

But rather than overwhelm your CSRs with this big number, break it down further. Take the 40 calls, divide by 4 to get 10 calls needed per week, then divide those 10 calls among your CSR team. If you have 5 CSRs, each will only need to book 2 calls per day.

“There are lots of numbers being thrown out here, but trust the process, follow these formulas, and this will make it easier for your CSRs to know exactly what is expected of them when they're running these calls,” Burgess says.

Develop and train your agents

Call-center managers must continually develop and train their agents, giving them the tools and resources to help them do their jobs and manage those leads better, Snow says. At ServiceTitan, we recommend two specific methods:

  • Listen to calls

  • Offer specific training programs

“Listen to calls together as a team or listen to them one-on-one, and do that at least weekly,” Snow says. “And celebrate the good things, look for opportunities to improve, and then set goals.”

And be intentional about the training programs you offer to the team. Options might include:

  • ServiceTitan software training

  • Technical or trade training 

  • Communications training

  • Certified admin training for ServiceTitan users

Set up dashboards and reporting

In ServiceTitan, you can build your own custom reports to capture the KPI information you need to track using pre-filled data sets for each KPI. For instance, the KPI data set for call-booking rate can be found under Office Performance and Campaign Summary.

You can also customize your own dashboards, such as a CSR manager dashboard that shows you call-booking rates, abandoned calls, individual CSR scorecards, inbound booking rate per CSR, and more.

“Peter Drucker, a really great management consultant, once said, ‘You can't manage what you don't measure.’ So, take advantage of those KPIs. Look at those data points. This is something that ServiceTitan does that I was never able to manage as a manager. I had no clue what my booking rates were for my CSRs before ServiceTitan,” Snow says. “Once you can measure it, you can improve it. If you're measuring it, you can improve it, you can train on it, and manage it.”

ServiceTitan Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and substantially elevate the trajectory of their business. Our comprehensive, cloud-based platform is used by thousands of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, garage door, and chimney sweep shops across the country—and has increased their revenue by an average of 25% in just their first year with us.

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