Is It Important To You If Home Inspector Answers Phone?

By
Home Builder with RAW Chimney Sweep and Inspections

Here is a tough one, and gets a bit of conversation back and forth between Home Inspectors.

 

Should a Home Inspector always answer the phone, should they interupt the Home Inspection they are on to answer the phone and get another job?  I have had some respond, they already have the Inspection they are on, it is the one ringing on the phone now they need to get.

Frankly, I personally feel that is greedy, inconsiderate and selfish.  I hate when somebody interputs me to talk on the phone, unless it is an emergency it is rude.  Period.

 

However, some say the potential customer will simply call another Home Inspector.  They will loose the job.

Perhaps.. maybe.. but is this true.

 

Some may like a personal answer versus a voice mail, however good Home Inspectors as good trades people and good Realtors are busy.  They do not have the time to answer all the time, maybe the Home Inspector is in the crawlspace or attic. 

 

Is a voice mail fine?  Some people hate them.

What about booking online?  I have an app for agents and an online booking for clients, but this does not allow conversation with the inspector.

 

What about a call center?  Are they effective?

 

It is about customer expectations, customer satisfaction and customer service.  But some say they want to talk to the Inspector in person.  Really?  And do they want their Home Inspection to be interrupted 3 times, and delayed by perhaps half an hour simply because somebody else wanted to talk to the Inspector as well?

 

When you call the doctors office, do you speak with the doctor?  Think of it the same way.

 

Personally I have always felt it was rather rude and inconsiderate to answer calls when on a Home Inspection and have not done so and will not do so.  If an emergency agents send me a text.

 

What is the general concensus on what a Home Insepctor should do, as I am somewhat torn on this one.

Wells Home Inspection Services

 

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Rainmaker
3,440,886
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Robin, this is a great question, as it can be annoying to a buyer if the inspector answers the phone while he is trying to explain something.

Jan 16, 2017 06:12 AM #1
Rainmaker
548,800
Sharon Kowitz
Fonville Morisey-CRS-SRES-ABR-GRI-E-Pro-CREN Cary, NC - Cary, NC
Cary, NC Relocation Specialist ~ Buying or Selling

I have a couple inspectors and as you know in a multiple offer situation we have to get our inspections done ASAP ! So getting in touch with an inspector and on schedule is a huge PLUS! 

Jan 16, 2017 06:25 AM #2
Rainmaker
2,308,039
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Robin... I don't ever expect anyone to answer the phone immediately. I don't live life assuming that anyone is just sitting there waiting for my phone call. But I do expect that when I've placed a call in to an inspector to ask about a report he's issued for my client, that he gets back to me at some point within the business day. As for scheduling appointments, these days it seems I can do it on-line with all of my preferred inspectors, who get back to me same day to acknowledge and verify.

Jan 16, 2017 06:25 AM #3
Rainmaker
78,993
Eugene Kanciar
EKAN Home Inspection - West Vancouver, BC
Our Experience, Your Peace-of-Mind

Hi Robin, I never answer my cellphone when with the client or agent on site. I give 100% attention to the 'live' moment. In BC, our market was so hot in 2016, that if you did not answer a call immediately, the client went on to the next inspector... and yes it happened to me on numerous occassions. Regarding your question, what follows is my experience:

1) I have found that buyers do not like to leave voicemails, so the only thing you can do is call back the unknown number to follow-up. The call-back has never been successful to me.

2) Using a call centre is not much better. The operator knows nothing of your business and takes the the caller's information in a 'live' call, but that falls short of the buyer's need for immediate cost and availability feedback.

3) On-line booking works great but you need a 'brand' or reputation for the buyer to trust you without an initial voice contact. 

4) In a multi-inspector office, a knowledgable and well informed receptionist is the gold standard.

5) If you are the sole operator of the business, the most important option you have IMHO is to have a compelling reason for a buyer to call you back when you do not reply immediately to their call. This compelling reason takes work, a lot of it. It's your website, your appearance on a Google search, being the specialist in a niche market, your social media presence, referrals from agents... In short, there needs to be something or someone recommending you to the buyer, enough to tweek their curiosity to ask themselves..."Am I missing something if I don't call Robin?" 

BTW great logo! That got my attention enough to post this comment.

Jan 16, 2017 06:57 AM #4
Rainmaker
78,993
Eugene Kanciar
EKAN Home Inspection - West Vancouver, BC
Our Experience, Your Peace-of-Mind

I know there are different levels of service for a call centre with incremental costs. Many agents here use call centres to capture and answer questions, however it never sounds authentic or authoritative IMO because they do not have sufficient volume to ever become proficient or comfortable with the script. But if you have money to throw at it, by all means try it for a 3 month period and see if it works for you.

Here's an idea. If your spouse is prepared to be your trained 'go-to' office manager, then that is certainly a good option to answer the phone when you can't.

Jan 16, 2017 07:26 AM #5
Rainmaker
521,885
Gloria Valvasori, Accredited Senior Agent
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS REAL ESTATE SIGNATURE SERVICE - Mississauga, ON
REAL Experience | REAL Commitment | REAL Results!

I don't expect anyone to answer the phone whenever I call... but I try to answer my cell phone ALL the time as much as possible.. it could be a potential client.  If I am with clients and my phone rings, I ask them if they would mind if I took this call quickly, and ask the pereson to call me back later.  I like to acknowledge people when they call... My clients don't seem to mind, as I am less than 30 seconds on the phone.  The person calling understands I am busy with clients, and is perfectly okay with me calling them back... I just don't want to be one  of those agents who never answers their phone.. it can get frustrating for perspective buyers as often some agents don't call back for hours, if at all!

Jan 16, 2017 08:38 AM #6
Rainmaker
141,930
Diana White-Pettis
Exit Bennett Realty - Upper Marlboro, MD
GRI, CDPE, CNE, WHC Upper Marlboro Homes for Sale

I think it's important for the home inspectors to be responsive to phone calls and/or online communications.  Because time is of the essence in many cases -  promptly returning voicemail calls or following up with a personal call to an online bookings is a MUST for me.  When you are with a client doing a home inspection, if you have to take a call, it should be as brief as possible.  Thanks for posing this questions!

Jan 16, 2017 08:44 AM #7
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Rainer
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Robin Wells

Giving Peace Of Mind One Chimney At A Time
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