The Mortgage Motivator: Pressing buttons produces frustrationRalph LoVuolo Sr., CMCcustomer service, customer service training Pressing buttons on my phone ... pressing more buttons on the phone ... pressing more buttons ... being directed to the proper department ... waiting ... waiting ... pressing more buttons ... waiting ... Representative: Hello, this is the phone company service department. Can I help you? Ralph LoVuolo: Yes, thank you. I'm calling because one of the lines in my home is not working properly. I have four lines here, and one of them has a serious, earsplitting amount of static. Can you help me? Rep: Could you please confirm your name and address? RL: Sure I can. (I told him.) Rep: Well, sir, I will transfer you to the repair/service department in just a minute, but before I do, can I interest you in changing from your present local and long distance service? RL: No! I thought this connection was to the service department. Rep: It is, sir. Just a minute, sir. I'll connect you directly. Sir, can I interest you in changing your present local and long distance service for only $57.39 a month? This will include unlimited calls locally, unlimited long distance, all calls to Canada, call waiting and voicemail, and once a month, we'll come to your house and cook you an exquisitely enticing and expensive meal worthy of Louis XIV. (I made the last part up.) RL: Whoa! You just got my attention. So the answer is maybe, but is that for one line or for all of the lines in my home? Because I have four lines. Rep: Well sir, I am sure that is for all of the lines. You have four lines? RL: Yes. I know when you asked me for my service name and address, you had to bring up my account on the computer. Didn't you see that? Rep: Yes, sir, but I needed to confirm it. (Big Brother let him know I was calling from another line in my house that worked just fine. He knew the number of lines I had. I knew that he knew! And he knew that I knew it!) RL: Well, of course I want to do that. I now pay about $127 a month for my local and long distance service, and I don't have any of those other services. So of course I want to change. Are you sure this price is for all of the lines? It seems so inexpensive, and you're offering so many additional doodads. Rep: Well, sir, if you would hold on for a minute, I'll check on that. RL: Well, I agree; that's a very good idea. Pause in the conversation ... the pause took two minutes, so I need you to turn away from the paper for a full two minutes ... I bet you can't do it ... I win! Rep: Sir, I confirmed. The cost is for each line separately. RL: Sure. Well then why did you ask me when you could see perfectly well that I was paying a fraction of that cost? Your $57 and change would wind up costing me more than $100 more a month than I'm paying now, and for no more service other than voicemail. Why would you ask me that? Rep: Well, sir, do you use a computer at home? RL: Are you going to answer my other question? Rep: Sir, I'm sorry, but I need to know if you use a high-speed DSL line. RL: I'll answer your question when you answer mine. Rep: Well, sir, I'm sorry. RL: Are you going to connect me to the service department? Rep: Well, sir, if we get disconnected, the direct number is (877) 288-2747. I'll connect you immediately. RL: Thank you. Pause ... another two minutes ... OK, you get the point. That's just an example of failed customer service training that I bring up when I do seminars and when I'm training people all over the country. But what has to be done to you before you start to realize the value of training? Because in case you haven't figured it out, that is what I'm all about - training: good training, great training, training that lasts, training that is effective and training that produces results. I've learned from Dr. Kerry Johnson, a mentor of mine, training methods that actually work. I've taken the steps that Dr. Johnson has taught me and I've outlined them below: Four steps to training anyone to do anything When you train, you typically tell your subjects what you want them to do and walk away. You think that since you know how to do it, they will understand it immediately as well. The second problem is that you don't have time to train, so you make a quick comment in passing, hoping that they will learn the skill and do it right from then on. The problem is that the quicker you train, the more you will have to retrain, taking more time in the long run. Here are four steps you must take when training the members of your staff and teaching them new skills: 1. Tell them what to do Let them know what you want them to do and why you need them to do it. If you don't take the time needed to let people know the importance of what you are asking them, then how can you build self-awareness or self-worth? It is imperative in the world we live in that we help our people to understand where they fit into the grand scheme of things. 2. Show them what to do Let them see what excellence is and how to do the skill the right way. This is the one thing that most managers and trainers find so difficult. It is imperative that time be taken to teach trainees proper skills by example. 3. Watch them do it You will never know if your trainees learned a skill unless you watch them do it. You must take time out of your schedule to accomplish this step, no different than the three other steps in the training process. 4. Wait a day and watch them do it again. Much of the time when you teach a skill, your employees will be able to duplicate it right away but won't bother to take notes and won't remember how to do it the next day. Wait a day and watch them display their newly acquired knowledge so you can be sure it has been committed to their long-term memories. Now, I know - I really do - that you think all of this is a waste of your valuable time. You are just so perfect. Don't take any advice. Don't listen to anyone. Don't think that anyone is ever as smart as you, because you'd be so wrong. No one knows better than you - no one! Even I know that. You are the smartest, best looking, best dressed mortgage broker, with the best physique, the best health and the highest score on your SATs. You were even valedictorian of your class. Oh, wait. You also have the best ability to figure out what you're going to do with the rest of your life. You have such a flawless plan that no one can tell you what to do, how to think, how to react or what to plan for. You know everything about what you need to know, and the rest is nonsense. "Who cares what happened in France today? It doesn't affect me." I also know that not only in the confines of your car, but actually in the arena, in front of more than 20,000 screaming fans, you have a voice like Ricky Martin or (God forbid) Britney Spears. Oops, now maybe I've gone too far. You haven't been to the doctor or dentist in the past five years? Well, it isn't necessary, because you and I know that you can smoke and drink and stay up until all hours working on your files. It has to get done. Someone has to do it. "This is the way we did it at the company I worked at before, and even though my boss was an idiot and took 40 percent of my gross, I know this is the way to do it. I know it! Who are you, trying to get me to think about another way? What the hell are you thinking? What the hell are you trying to say? Even I know that he had a processing system that sucked. I wound up using the same system. Well, it was cheap, and I knew it and I didn't have to worry whether or not my employees would be able to learn it." And what about training and repetition to learn the proper way to deal with the public? No, that's just a waste of time. You're already perfect. I forgot. Ralph LoVuolo Sr., CMC is president of Mortgage Motivator, a mortgage industry training and coaching firm. He is a founder and past president of the New York Association of Mortgage Brokers, a teacher accredited by the New York and New Jersey Real Estate Commission, a former associate professor at Atlantic College and New York University and a published author. He can be reached at (609) 652-6901, e-mail [email protected] or you can visit his blog at www.mortgagemotivator.blogspot.com.