Ask Questions For Marketing Success


Every marketer strives to develop a strong relationship with their prospects, clients, and customers.  There are very few ‘natural’ marketers that just know how to properly engage the client.  The good news is that almost everyone can learn the best ways to create that ‘go-to” relationship where they are trusted and respected.

Even the challenge of trying to get past the gatekeeper and get in front of the all-important decision-maker is a specialty all its own! When you show credibility, you’re removing a big reason why the client may not want to do business with you.

One of the easiest ways to create a strong Maven (trusted advisor) relationship is to constantly ask power questions. Asking powerful questions – questions that make your prospect think and think and think before answering, makes prospects believe you are brilliant.  They feel you are in tune with their business, and in turn come to rely on you and trust you more. Power questions prove to your clients that you know their business and you actually care about their business.

Even more so, by asking powerful questions, you stay in full control of the conversation and interaction without the client feeling intimidated or threatened. Plus, people like to talk about themselves, so when questions are asked, it gives them the opportunity to feel like they are important. If they feel they are important to you, they will like you more and want to do business with you.

The simplest way to know what questions you should ask to evolve from doing your research on that client and their industry. You can’t really ask intelligent questions unless you actually know something about them and their business!

Even why you ask a very good question – ask follow-up questions. Your power questions can demonstrate to the prospect or client that:

  • You are paying attention
  • They know you “feel their pain”
  • You can be taken seriously
  • You have credibility and knowledge
  • You are in tune to their world–business – issues
  • You are a great “conversationalist” (making you likable)

Open-ended questions enable the prospect to respond with a much more elaborate answer, and that engages them even more. A closed-ended question simply allows them to say yes or no, thereby awkwardly ending the dialogue.  An added benefit to asking open-ended questions is that you remain in control of the conversation so you can continue to demonstrate your expertise and value!

Too many marketers go about their day dropping off candy or donuts and never get to the true business at hand.  It’s a failure if marketers work on the premise that “if they are friendly and likable,” that’s good enough. The fact is marketers won’t succeed well unless they do their ‘homework’ and know details about the prospect or client. Being a Maven by interacting with them in a credible manner – asking power questions.


By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC                         

Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Owner of BLOG



Copyright© 2022     The CREST Network, LLC   All Rights Reserved

Who Is The Real Client?

So, who is the real client – the homeowner or business that had the loss, or the insurance company?  I think we will ALL need to be planning on how our services can be afforded by the end-user because one day there will be premiums but there will be few payments just like in the medical world.

The insurance company has the upper hand and will continue to depress prices to restoration companies, and restoration companies are swallowing the bait. They are not stupid, and they have lots and lots of POWER by spreading lots of money into the coffers of politicians.

The best thing for all of us in the restoration field to do is to observe and recognize what insurance did to the medical field.  Layer upon layer of paperwork, (think, Xactimate, PAs, consultants, etc.) lower and lower prices back to the people who ACTUALLY DO THE WORK and spend the money on equipment and training.  And then we’re all supposed to be happy because the profits get shared by the insurance company’s “stockholders” in their retirement investment funds.

Physicians several years ago were well-paid professionals that were paid by their clients.  Medical insurance changed that and made the insurance company the check writer and the doctors had to team up and get in line to withstand the relentless pressure for lower prices while still delivering quality care.  As you all know medical care has as many clerks and recordkeepers as practitioners.  Soon, if the insurance firms get their way, you will have more recordkeepers on the payroll than WRT”s

I don’t pretend to have an answer, but just how often has ANY insurance adjuster actually asked you anything about your technical ability?  Questioned on thermal imaging, the standard for drying?  I would guess 99% of the contact you have with any adjuster is only about how quickly I can close this file and how much will it cost.

All the bottom-feeding insurance bootlickers that are finding new ways to get a piece of our profits will only grow and succeed if we let them.  These companies are wooing the insurance companies and telling you that you can’t survive without THEM.  Actually, they cannot survive without the US. The insurance firms are not paying for XYZ’s services out of their profits they are paying for XYZ’s to increase THEIR (the insurance company) profits by cutting YOURS (you, your wife and children, your kid’s college, your fishing vacation trip)

So, when I hear people say, “It’s business” and realize at the same time that “business” impacts my loved ones; No friend, it’s personal!  And if XYZ is successful it will spawn some new alien creature to fleece YOUR company.  The company is part of your and your family’s future.

By the way, I don’t have problems with adjusters, I have only been questioned twice in ten years on any invoices, have no beef with adjusters that will communicate with me.  Adjusters are actually going to be on the chopping block too if the insurance firms can figure out a way to eliminate them.

Guest Author: Mike Conroy, CIEC – Master Restorer

Owner Expert Dry  850-777-6655

Do You Collaborate In Marketing?

3 minute read

There have been many approaches to marketing restoration services and as many different ideas as there are coaches out there to promote them. My ideas are a strategy that is used by hundreds of marketers all over the country with great success.

Long gone are the days of basic route marketing where your best strategy is “Stop, Drop, and Roll” – visiting someone on the route, dropping off donuts, and rolling on to the next prospect. It is certainly good for the donut shop but doesn’t get you more business. That’s simply a form of bribery.

The topic of collaborate is all about working with a prospect or client to help them help their own customers! It’s so much more than ”what you can do for them” and is really what you can do for your prospects’ customers!


Every elevator speech that I hear when a marketer is in on of my classes is “my name is Susie with XYZ Restoration and we do Fire, Water, Smoke, and Mold.”  Sadly, they think they are bringing value by saying this, but NO ONE cares! Nobody is interested in ‘what you do.’  They want to know what you are going to do to help them “get more business” and that’s all they care about.

We call the ‘elevator pitch’ the Summary Move because it is all about the client and their client! It focuses on how you help them and their customer. The summary move strategy is to be thinking several ‘moves’ ahead and anticipating what they’ll say and be prepared to make the next ‘move.’  That’s what good chess players do – think several steps ahead.


By making it about their client, you are effectively taking the “salesyness” out of the conversation and are acting more like a ‘trusted advisor.’  Neither you, nor I like to be sold and we are not fond of salespeople! Don’t be one of the obnoxious salespeople that you dislike.

Find ways to make the conversation about them and their customers. When the client (or prospect) feels that you are mostly interested in them and their business, they’ll be far more likely to seriously consider working with you. Since you have their interest at heart, they will want to refer business (jobs) to you.


Yes, it’s quite a challenge to think only about “what you can do for your clients client, but until you get into that mindset – you’ll come across as salesy or worse. For most of us, that mindset is a big struggle to achieve because we are in the mode of “getting jobs.”  Our boss or owner wants you to get more referrals so he or she is constantly pushing you to do this – even reminding you of how many referral you got last month!


You want to be considered a ‘trusted advisor’ but you often don’t take the time to know something about them or their business or even about their industry!  You can’t be considered a Trusted Advisor to them if you don’t have any advice.  Donut dropping candy jar refilling services don’t make you a trusted advisor!

If you want to become an expert and a million-dollar producer then be sure to attend an RMS™ class, held throughout the country two or three times a year. The Restoration Marketing Specialist course will teach you how to be a marketer that knows how to collaborate and get more business.  See you soon!


Dick Wagner   419-202-6745         [email protected]


Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Co-Founder of the CREST Network, LLC

Co-creator of the Restoration Marketing Specialist™  (RMS®) certification course



Copyright© 2021     AskDickWagner, LLC   All Rights Reserved


No Part Of This Document May Be Reproduced In Any Form

Written Permission required to share this article.


Doing It Right On Social Media

I have 1700+ ‘friends’ on Facebook and 3300+ connections on LinkedIn (and 600+ on my Twitter account), and the worst thing I can do is promote myself or my company! My posts and content on my Blog or other social media accounts must never be salesy and talk about ‘what I do.’ Nobody wants a commercial or promo about “what you do.”


Often, well-intentioned marketers start using social platforms with the goal of reaching a certain number of Likes, Retweets, or Shares, but just as often, they begin the trip of social media strategies by experiencing a disconnect between the Content they post on their Blog or in Tweets. Even more frustrating is the methodology they use to measure their success. It isn’t about how many Likes on the Facebook business page!


People love stories and especially stories that make the client or customer the hero! Find ways to tell stories about how an agent or a plumber got more recognition and credibility by succeeding with you.

We have said this over a thousand times – RELATIONSHIPS matter even when the contact is engaging with you on some form of social media. When you finally get to the point – or decision that Social Media is not working for you, look back at the posts that you made and see if they are relevant, or are they salesy and pushy – and too concerned with promoting your own company.


Just as it is appropriate to build rapport with clients and prospects about their business and their needs and wants – it is correct to learn about them and their business and then talk about their business. NOBODY cares about ‘what you do or anything about your company. One restoration company is the same as another one – in their eyes. The companies that get the work are those that make the relationship:

  • Fun
  • Exciting
  • Unusual
  • Make the prospect the hero.


Being successful in the world of social media means you have to create a detailed roadmap, listing out on paper exactly what you are trying to achieve and then break it down into small steps – then implement that plan. A well-planned, well-thought-out, well-implemented Content strategy is not only a vital component of any social media strategy; it’s the key to driving the results your business wants.

It’s OK to stir things up a bit and post something slightly controversial – just not about religion or politics. Your audience members enjoy your valuable or interesting social content when you deliver social content that rewards them for sharing your content, engaging with your business, and, ideally, helping to promote your reputation as a thought leader in your business or industry. Providing informative, helpful, educational, creative, and even humorous content makes it far more likely that you will have meaningful interactions.

The right strategy identified on paper allows you to track your success (or failure).


Author: Dick Wagner – nationally renowned expert on Social Media for Service Businesses   419-202-6745 cell   or


Who Are They Going To Call?

3 minute read

Are they calling you – or are they calling your competitor? Is your company ‘top of mind?’ There must be a compelling reason they call you and not your competition!

For years and still today, many marketers ‘think’ they are going to get the call from the agent or plumber, but they are only generating $150k a year in revenue and that’s not enough! We often hear that it’s about ‘great service’ but that’s only AFTER the call comes in. It’s not about the latest tool or machine or gadget that your company has purchased. Everyone claims to offer great service or have the latest Binford 5000 machine but that isn’t enough to justify your business existence.


Nobody brags about average or poor service. No marketer says, “we have mediocre equipment.”  All of the tools, equipment, and processes are important but if are not likable and care about the people you call on – you are in trouble.

Not Price

The lowest price is NOT what gets you the job – at least not for long. Eventually, they (a competitor) will either beat your price or you will go out of business.  It’s surprising those people that are likable and friendly and care about the client don’t have a problem with the price! One contractor looks a lot like other contractors, so you really need to be Different.

Since there is so little differentiation between restoration and roofing companies, it becomes a difficult task to create a clear brand position for your company.  Defining a valid differentiator (or several differences) for your company will have a huge contrast. How you are perceived in the marketplace should be crystal clear and unique from all others, with nobody else making the same claim.  That doesn’t mean anyone could make the claim, but they are far less likely if you dominate that position.

The Squeaky Wheel

In reality, it doesn’t matter whether other companies can make the same claim, but who makes it first and loudest is the one that gets the bragging rights. Building and solidifying a strong brand position isn’t that easy and most contractors need help doing it. Developing a winning brand position involves several key ingredients. I’ve said many times that you must know your client’s issues, pains, challenges, frustrations, and concerns. Without knowing these, you have no way of creating a strong position, and less likely that you will create raving fans.

Shrink or Grow

There isn’t a way for you to stay the same. It’s been proven a million times that if ‘you are standing still – you’re going backward.’

Yes, you must market and promote the business every day but most people that market is simply spinning their wheels – being busy – but not effective! If you aren’t marketing it you won’t grow, (and probably will shrink or go out of business). The sad reality is that failure to properly market your company is like getting promises from clients that never come thru!

It’s Amazing

I know so many marketers that think if they are calling on clients – that’s all it takes. The client is friendly, makes promises, and yet never sends a job. The problem is the marketer is not asking for sales. They are NOT doing things to help the client’s business. They think because the client is polite – and talks to them – that the marketer has a good lead source. Rather than learn what customers consider painful in the business the marketer wants to talk about recipes or the family or the dog.

You really need to find out what scares customers most about calling a company like yours! Know or learn what their pain point is and then address it.

Nobody Cares

I’ve had marketers approach a new client with the question “are you familiar with our company?” or “Do you know what we do? Bottom line: they don’t care! They are not interested in what YOU or your company do. They only care about THEIR company and industry. Learn about their industry and talk with them about it. That’s how you build trust, and credibility and prove to them that you are truly a subject matter expert.

State exactly how you have been recognized by experts (or as experts). What publications have you written, or been featured in? Create a position by declaring yourself to be a specialist, rather than all things to all people. You cannot be ALL Things To All People! Doctors that specialize are the ones that charge the most and make the most money.

The idea of finding a real differentiation between you and your competitors is critical to your survival, and one of my specialties is helping you identify that differentiation and then implementing it in your market.


By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC                         

Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Owner of BLOG

Is Your Marketing Program Out Of Whack?

Yes, very likely!  It may sound overconfident on this blogger’s part to make this assumption, but let’s consider the facts: here you are, looking up blog posts on how to freshen up your marketing. Very possibly your gut tells you that what you’ve been doing for the past several years might not be working anymore!

The truth is that the vast majority of people who know that their marketing isn’t working, who buy books and read blogs on how to fix it, don’t bother to take the necessary steps to make their marketing work for them in the 2020 decade. The end result is that their marketing remains an expense instead of an investment.

Here are 4 reasons to refocus your marketing right now:

  1. You Need an Objective

Some of us just keep making changes, seemingly, for the fun of making changes. Sometimes it’s not a total relaunch of our marketing campaigns that are needed, but simply a little stability and tracking. Your marketing team won’t stay focused if you keep giving them a different objective every morning.

  1. You Need an SMP

A Strategic Marketing Plan (SMP) is about using today’s tools and putting your marketing plan in writing. It should include calendar items as well as those marketing efforts that produce the highest ROI in 2021 and beyond.

  1. You Need A Coach

A Business Coach can make the difference between getting where you need to go in your marketing efforts, and not. A blog post can only offer so much guidance. A coach can give you advice based on your specific situation and what’s happening in 2022.

  1. You Need a Client Management System

It’s been said that nearly 100% of all major business owners spend money to collect data on their customers, but only around half use that data to improve their relationships with those customers. Please use a robust CRM and then spend time reviewing the trends and data!

Author:  Dick Wagner, National Sales Coach, Consultant, Trainer, and Speaker

AskDickWagner, LLC

Nationally recognized restoration sales & marketing coach 

Copyright 2021-2022


Social Media Promo Hacks to Try

2021 or this new decade are the years of social media, at least from a business promotion standpoint. Don’t let this opportunity to build your brand and your following pass you by; try out these hacks this year to grow your business and promote your excellent services on social media now!

Include Video Content

Even if it’s a quick, 30-second video of common ways to use your product, video content is quickly becoming the king of content. People watch a ton of videos online, and that number has been increasing year over year for quite some time. Don’t skip videos on your social media pages!

Optimize for Mobile

If you have to choose to spend resources on mobile vs. computer, opt for mobile. Mobile devices and social media sites are peanut butter and jelly, and if your website isn’t set up to be user-friendly on a mobile device, people will quickly go elsewhere. Part of that includes reducing load times; if people have to wait longer than a couple of seconds to load your website on their phone, they’re likely to head to a competitor’s site.

Build Your Brand

Social media is a place to let your personality shine through, and that includes your brand’s personality. Keep your messaging consistent but have some fun with your followers. People love to see funny or relevant information on their favorite brands’ profiles. That, of course, starts with a great logo, which you can design for free here if you don’t already have one.

Engage With Your Followers… But Not Too Much

When you start out, you might try to respond to every single person who comments on one of your social media posts. You probably don’t have a considerable following, after all. Although that may seem like a good idea, it’s not entirely necessary. You can reply to the first few comments, but don’t spend too much time on engagement. If you have to choose, spend that time posting new content regularly.

Use a Template for Posts

If you’re using Instagram or Snapchat for your promotions, head over to Canva to use their templates. You can design posts and pictures to fit in perfectly with those platforms, and it’s straightforward and intuitive to do. Spend a few minutes and create great graphics with Canva.

Consider a Social Media Management App

If you’re trying to post on multiple platforms, you’ll quickly find your time running out fast. You can try to keep up, or you can check out a social media management app like Hootsuite, which allows you to manage multiple platforms from a straightforward dashboard. You can schedule posts, listen for mentions of your company, and engage with followers easily. Hootsuite isn’t the only option, but it’s one of the top-rated on the web.

Try Using Emojis

They might seem a bit unprofessional, but emojis allow your brand to appear more fun and noticeable, and they can help you increase conversion rates too. Don’t overdo it but do pepper a few of them into your posts or replies to comments. They can help your brand seem more down-to-earth and fun.

Use Hashtags Effectively

Head over to Twitter to find relevant hashtags for your brand and use them in your own social media promotions. A good hashtag can really expand your audience. Just don’t overdo it, please; nobody likes to see 20 hashtags after a post in a desperate attempt to find one that sticks.

Your time as a business owner is precious, so you don’t have time to waste chasing ineffective social media strategies. Try these hacks out to promote your brand quickly and efficiently and get back to building your business.

Guest Post

Fantasies of Greatness

4 minute read

I’ve met with, interviewed, and coached literally hundreds of restoration contractors over the past 15 years I’ve been a coach and consultant. It doesn’t take long after meeting them and that includes marketers as well before I instinctively know they are arrogant, cocky, self-righteous, and often have these absurd fantasies of greatness. I just met with one of them last week!

There’s just one problem (actually many) but the one big one is they are destructive to themselves and their business. This ridiculous illusion that they are “someone special” is self-defeating and truly destructive to their life and usually obvious in their business.

I can often see it by looking at their company literature. So many times, it’s a gorgeous glossy four-color brochure proclaiming all the wonderful features of the company, the staff, and even their equipment. Sadly, for them, the client or prospect DOES NOT CARE! This is all about “Fantasies of Greatness” on the part of the owner. A pure ego trip.


When I ask one of my trademark questions… “what makes you and your company Different?” I often get answers like “we have the latest and greatest Whatchamacallit machine” or “we care more about our customers” or “we have the most employees.”

It’s just astonishing to me how so many contractors fail to realize that it’s not about them! The insurance agent doesn’t care that you have the biggest, fastest, hottest, super-sucker machine. Nor do they care that your staff is IICRC certified, and they definitely don’t care about your fancy four-color glossy brochures. Reality check: nobody cares – except maybe you and possibly your ego. Yes, sometimes you need great brochures for end-user consumers, but for the right reason.


Since I’ve spent a fair amount of the page reminding you that it’s not about you, then what should you do? First and foremost, you must learn and understand your prospects’ industry and business. If you are trying to engage an insurance agent, then you need to know their business challenges. You also need to know how the insurance world operates. What are the issues, struggles, and pains they deal with every day?

Part of this research and intel is to help you as a marketer bring true DIFFERENTIATION to your client. Another critical part of your marketing strategy is to create and build an incredible personal brand. In addition, your personal brand starts with developing a thought-leader approach by becoming a trusted expert in your field. (I don’t mean you know about grains of depression, or thermal hygrometers). I am talking about being an expert in your client’s industry!


If your client is a plumber, they have unique pains in their business.  If you are calling on property managers of hotels, then you should know as much as you can about the hospitality industry and especially the challenges that that manager faces every day.

Wondering where to start? The fact is the internet has millions of pieces of useful information about almost everything. Including things, you don’t want to know about!  If you Google “hospitality industry” you will get over 11 million hits (in less than one second) – from White Papers to Blogs, to photos, to videos, History, Statistics, and more.  These clients deserve to do business with a company and salesperson who knows and understands their client’s business issues.  Beware: failure to do this almost guarantees another company IS going to take the time to become familiar with their prospect’s business and steal the prospect or client away from you.

Some companies like to “fly under the radar” as they are growing, and others like to make a huge splash and shout their services from the rooftops.  Either way is quite acceptable, depending on your business strategy and plan. Most important though, is to make sure you don’t get “Fantasies of Greatness” and be lulled into a false sense of security (or arrogance) thinking your company is miles ahead of the competition.

I simply hate it when I see an otherwise viable company crash and burn simply because they had absurd and false fantasies of greatness. It’s truly heartbreaking!

By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC                         

 Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

 Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Owner of BLOG



Copyright© 2021 -2022©    The CREST Network, LLC   All Rights Reserved

Differentiation – Exactly What Is It?

4 minute read

Today, there are over 7 billion people in the world. It’s estimated there are 50 million businesses (many are small with less than 5 people). We have an elaborate Social Media system with almost a third of the world population on Facebook! So, it is highly unlikely that your business is: “in a class by itself, rare, special, unequaled, unique, unparalleled, unprecedented, or unrivaled.”

Differentiation, by the standards used even 15 years ago, it so dramatically new and different. Your business is NOT a one-of-a-kind, where your services are so unique that no one is doing a similar thing! Here’s the big fact: there are really only two key ingredients that enable you to put your business in a class by itself. First, your customer service must be unparalleled – so unique, special, Different, that no one is even close to competing with you in that arena. Second, your staff, (and especially your marketers) must be unforgettable in a superb and positive way with prospects and clients.

In general, disaster restoration companies, independents and franchises alike use similar equipment to dry buildings, or remove smoke odor and soot, or clean up mold.  You simply do not have – in the offering of products and services – something others don’t have. The exception as stated above is your high-touch customer service and your incredible staff.


Here is the blunt truth; it means you must continually re-invent your company, ever conscious of what might differentiate your business from the others and then promote that differentiation!  Even though you will be hard-pressed to be unrivaled or unprecedented, to survive long-term, you will need to constantly identify and refine your differentiation. Let me say it again… Differentiation for your company is critical to your long-term success.

Consider this: even when other companies in your market do “similar” things, (such as mitigation only), you can become known as the Mitigation Only specialist by continually promoting that theme.  Advertise it – explain it – market it, and it becomes yours because you have claimed it as yours.  Sure, others can try to copy your mantra but your aggressive marketing efforts (shouting it from the rooftops) will help position you as the leading business in the differentiation you choose.

Differentiation helps to sustain as well as grow market share and the strategies to differentiate your offerings have to be simple – without requiring significant changes to the existing process. The better differentiation you have, the larger market share you own. Another great way to establish serious credibility and be perceived as the king in your field is for your website to include a Blog. Your blog section needs a fresh, new, non-plagiarized  article nearly every week, and certainly twice a month!


Standing out among your competition can seem like a massive challenge given the fundamental similarities within your industry. Using different techniques to elevate yourself above the competition, without the help of a cost prohibitive advertising budget comes down to knowing yourself, knowing your customer and playing to your strengths.

Standing out from the competitors means finding out what makes you different, so ask your prospects and customers since they are the ones seeing “who you really are!” Asking them what you and your business can do better can help you find out what you are (or aren’t) doing to set yourself apart from the competition. This can also be a great way to make your customers feel involved in your operation and let them know that you are open to their input and willing to improve your service to them.

Think about your competitors and then ask everyone in your company:

  1. What sets us apart from all of them? (hint: don’t say “we care more.”)
  2. What really makes us totally unique or unusual in a good way?
  3. What do we do, provide, or have that makes us completely different?
  4. Could we give an incredible guarantee that no one else would dare offer?
  5. What package of little things could we bundled and give it a special name?
  6. What convenience can we create that none of our competitors offer?

When you stop bragging about how good you are and start telling them how different you are and how that will make a customer’s experience with you better than anyone else, you’ll get more work – at higher prices because when a client genuinely believes nobody else can do the job the way you can do it, price is no longer an issue.

My final thought… Differentiation in our extremely crowded marketplace is a business essential, not only in terms of a company’s success, but also for its continuing survival. So often we are incredibly arrogant and believe our business is so “one-of-a-kind” that if they want what we offer, then they have to do business with us!   Well, it isn’t – unless you design DIFFERENTIATION into your operation.

By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC                         

 Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Owner of BLOG



Copyright© 2021     The CREST Network, LLC   All Rights Reserved

Automated Phone Answering – Horrible For Customers

The very last thing you need in business is a frustrated, disgusted, or angry customer or potential customer!  Yet, the “automated phone answering equipment”  you are thinking about getting installed will be the very first aggravation your clients will deal with.

Some slick salesman has convinced you that automated equipment with make you more efficient, save you time, and money, and make you look more professional.  In reality, it makes you look like that big cable TV company or satellite TV service that simply sucks.

Today, it is often challenging to make your customers happy. Sadly, too many customers feel “entitled” and try to take advantage. We’ve all been there and experienced that frustration.

Listed here are a few potential failures with automated phone systems:

  • Public perception of these systems is negative.
  • Often the “terminology” is confusing. (press 1 for collaboration tech support) or (press 2 for non-warranty technical help) or (press 7 if you would like to hear the menu again) “in case you weren’t paying attention the first three times, or you aren’t smart enough to know exactly which option you need.”
  • There are often too many unclear choices.
  • Even worse is when “your choice” isn’t listed
  • It’s even worse when they don’t work perfectly.
  • You are entrusting your “best first impression” to an oft-problematic machine
  • When things go wrong on the initial answer, (machine pick-up) there is rarely an opportunity to repair the damage.
  • People repeatedly say they want a live person.
  • The opportunity to quickly solve customer service issues is needlessly delayed, or even worse, it never gets resolved!
  • Many times sales are lost as a result of caller frustration at not being able to get to the right person.
  • The automated system enables employees to “distance” themselves from any urgency or immediacy.
  • It creates a company environment where the caller is not the most important.
  • Bottom Line: It helps people hang up!

Today, the only real differentiation you have is your CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Without the most awesome, incredible, problem-solving customer service, you really aren’t much different from all your competitors.

As your author, this isn’t some personal vendetta against technology!  I have, however, experienced many negative calls into a company where the automated system was lousy or in many cases, so bad that I simply hung up and called someone else.  Writing this article was prompted by several recent major frustrations – trying to do business with companies that used an automated (and terrible) system.

It should be quite obvious, that an automated phone answering system for your business can eliminate the cost of a receptionist answering all calls personally.  You might conclude that it’s an inexpensive way to expedite incoming phone calls, but you really need to reconsider. It’s kind of like stepping over a dollar to pick up a nickel!


By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC                         

 Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

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