How to Book the Call Even If You’re Booked Solid

This sucks: 

When a customer says they need service “ASAP” but you’re booked out ’till next week.

You try to reason with them…

Maybe you offer a discount? 

You tell them your guys are the best and it’s “worth the wait!” But, alas…

They take their money elsewhere. 

It happens on the phone when a customer’s pipes are leaking right now. It happens in the home when they want a new part today. But because you’ve made commitments to other customers, this homeowner has to wait. And because they have to wait, they call someone else.

This is one the three big “business killers” Home Service Contractors are forced to deal with, the other two being:

  1. Price resistance
  2. Bad customer experience

But fear not! 

By the end of this blog post, you will know exactly what to do on the phone and in the home so that “lack of availability” never costs you a customer again. 

Let’s get to it:

First, Present the Urgency List

In our 12 years of coaching contractors to book more calls and WOW more customers, The Urgency List has consistently been praised as the tool that makes companies more money the fastest. It’s simple to implement and will get you more customers right away. 

It works like this:

On the Phone

Your CSRs should be asking the customer “when would you like us to come out?” before they tell the customer your availability. To do the opposite forces the customer to bend their will to yours and creates a poor experience. 

Knowing when they want you before you reveal your availability also gives you greater negotiating power if the customer starts talking about going elsewhere. 

So when the customer tells you what timeframe they want (and let’s be honest, it’ll probably be “ASAP”) and it’s an expectation you can’t meet, you say this: 

“Alright Mr. Jones, let’s get some information and take a look at the schedule together.” 

Then, you ask for the information you need in your system. Customers love “let’s look at the schedule together.” 

Once you have all their info, you respond with: 

“Thank you for that Mr. Jones. Alright, I’m looking at the schedule now and what I’d like to do is put you on our ‘Urgency List.” The Urgency List gives you faster service. What happens is, when a Technician finishes early in your area or another customer reschedules, we’ll move you into the next available appointment time. That way, you get the fastest service possible. Now, in order to get you on the Urgency List, I do need to put you on the schedule. I have an available appointment at [INSERT APPOINTMENT TIME]. May I book that appointment in order to get you on our Urgency List?”

Then, you book it. 

“But what if they say no?”

That’s where you introduce “The Back-Up Plan.” 

If the customer insists they need a guaranteed appointment time as soon as possible or they’re walking away, offer to be their “Back-Up Plan:”

“I definitely understand the urgency here Mr. Jones. Why don’t we book this as your back-up plan? What that means is we’ll put you on our Urgency List so that you know we’re coming the moment we become available. We’ll also book the [AVAILABLE APPOINTMENT TIME] in order to get you on the Urgency List. This way, you know somebody is going to be there no later than [INSERT AVAILABLE APPOINTMENT TIME]. In the meantime, if you find something sooner, just give us a call and we’ll take you off the schedule – but I’d hate for you to not book this appointment and then have to wait longer somebody else. May I book this appointment and get you on our Urgency List?”

The key phrase is “but I’d hate for you to not book this appointment and then have to wait longer somebody else.” Keep reading to learn why…

Using the Urgency List & Back-Up Plan will almost immediately lift your company’s booking rates and leave your customers feeling better than when you found them

NOTE: Here’s a fantastic 9-minute training video on how to use The Urgency List: 

Now that you know what to do on the phone, here’s what to do…

In the Home

True salesmanship sets the best Technicians far apart from everyone else. And if you’ve read to this point, you’ll be glad to know that many of the principles behind The Urgency List and Back-Up Plan for CSRs apply to Technicians working in the home, too.

The Urgency List In the Home

If you’ve done an inspection but will need parts that aren’t currently available to finish the job, use this version of The Urgency List after you’ve delivered your findings and options:

“Alright Mr. Jones, what happens next is this: I’d like to put you on my Urgency List for getting this repair done. The reason for that is there is this part/tool needed for the job that will be available on [INSERT WHEN IT WILL BE AVAILABLE]. So my intention is to come out and do the job as soon as I get the part, with [INSERT APPOINTMENT] being the latest that happens. May I go ahead and schedule that time for you so that I can come back out as soon as I get the part? If I get it sooner than expected, I’ll call you right away.”

“But what if they say no?”

If the customer demands to have the job done right away or they’ll calling someone else, use this variation of The Back-Up Plan:

“I understand the sense of urgency here, Mr. Jones. But what I’d hate to see happen is you don’t book this return trip for when the new part arrives and end up having to wait longer or pay more for someone else. In my experience, when our schedule is full and parts need to be ordered, other companies are dealing with the same thing. May I go ahead and book this return trip for you?” 

Another key phrase: “In my experience, when our schedule is full and parts need to be ordered, other companies are dealing with the same thing.” Here’s why:

Why It All Works

You’re doing two effective things by following this approach:

  1. Showing respect for the customer’s sense of urgency
  2. Appealing to the customer’s logic 

All customers buy for emotional reasons (the urgency they feel) but also need compelling logic to justify their purchase (“I’d hate to see you wait longer or pay more for someone else…”). The Urgency List and Back-Up Plan appeal to both the customer’s emotional desires to move forward and their need for a logical explanation. 

Remember that when you commit one homeowner to take a step forward with you, they will need a logical reason to explain to their spouse why they did. Many customers don’t buy from you because they don’t know how they’ll explain paying a higher price or waiting for a later appointment to their spouse. 

This approach helps you help them stay in good graces with their husband or wife. 

Never Struggle With Scheduling Again

You can begin to immediately see higher booking rates and happy customers with these tools. 

Just see what The Urgency List did for Brian, Owner of Payless Water Heaters, on the day of his team’s first training with us:

And if you want to see similar results in your business, schedule a free consultation with our team to see if CSR & Technician Coaching is right for you:

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After 30 minutes of conversation with our team, you’ll walk away with a knowledge of what your CSRs need to reach their full potential right now.

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See for yourself how we train your CSRs to book more calls, WOW more customers, and make more money for your business.