The Power of the Secret Shopper Part 2 - What's Next?

Once you have received input from your "Secret Shopper" program, what do you do with the information? Before you do anything, you need to review your basic phone procedures. The first impression you give your customers can have a tremendous bearing on future business.

Phase #1 - Have a phone log available and log all incoming calls.

Phase #2 - Review how you answer the phone. Make sure everyone answers the phone the same way with the same information. We suggest, "(Name of your store), this is (First Name) speaking, how may I help you?"

Phase #3 - Have a specific list of qualifying questions in the log to make sure you understand: Who you are talking to; what they really need; when they need it; where they need it delivered; how you can get in touch with the customer; do they have a current account (if not, how to set one up).

Phase #4 - Once you have collected all the pertinent information, you need to prepare a quote based on all the information you gathered in Phase #3. Ask to put the caller on hold while you prepare your quote. It's imperative you have either music on hold or a prerecorded message about the products and services that make your store special. Make sure you include and discuss all necessary delivery charges, damage waiver charges, environmental fees, specific local charges, taxes, fuel charges, etc. You should determine in advance and communicate the policy to everyone that answers the phone what to quote first-time callers. This is NOT the time to quote your lowest book rate.

Phase#5 - When you take your caller off hold, please say, "Thanks for holding (use his first name), your total quote is $XXX. How would you like to pay for this rental? We accept, (use credit card name) or we can take a personal check. Do you have a fax or an email address to which I can send you our credit application?"

At this point you should be able to close the rental. If this person stalls, ask when you can make further contact and what time would be best. Offer to have your sales person make future contact, if necessary. Log all of the information into the phone log and make sure to follow up.

Questions or comments? Contact Mike Farley at