When small business owners call the SourceLink® Hotline or contact you by email, you should be able to help them quickly, efficiently and with respect. However, your callers won’t always know what they need or they may have unrealistic expectations of the kind of help they can get.
This does not mean that you cannot assist with the business need, only that you may have to help the callers understand their own situations a bit more clearly and what their real needs are.
This handy checklist of steps may be a useful desk reference:
Step one: Collect basic information. (See required information in step seven). This will help you understand a bit about the business and point you to appropriate resources.
Step two: Listen to the client and assess the situation. Try to determine the general concern (finance, marketing, etc.) for which help is needed. (Your Resource Navigator® will provide you with a drop down menu of the Resources available in your area … that’s a great place to start.)
Step three: Search for the appropriate resources. Your Resource Partners will provide many of the services your callers need. You may also encounter requests for which the best resource is unclear or need more research. Be sure to respond in a timely manner. Many SourceLinks have a goal of responding within 24 business hours. See follow up email.
Step four: Provide information on relevant resources. It isn’t always enough to simply tell clients which resources can help them. You may also need to explain how each referral can be of benefit.
Step five: Confirm that you fully addressed the needs of the client. Ask if there are any additional questions and verify that you have, indeed, answered the initial question.
Step six: Let clients know that you will be following up. Let clients know they can contact you with any additional questions and let them know that you will follow-up with them in three to four weeks.
Step seven: Record client data and schedule a follow-up in the SourceLink® CRM system (Client Relationship Management). Be sure to record all required information.
- Company information
- Name of individual
- Name of business (if available)
- Address, phone, email
- Client status
- Number of employees
- Summary of interaction
- Record of referrals
- Follow up (based on needs of client)
- How did the client hear about service
Step eight: Follow-up with the client. The first follow-up attempt is usually through a SourceLink CRM email survey. If clients do not respond by email, calling can boost the responses to the survey.
Step nine: Send follow-up surveys. Surveys are a great way to evaluate the effectiveness of your referrals.