For the Bail Industry the most important tool and element for your business is without a doubt your telephone. It wouldn't matter if you had an office location on every single corner in every city, the truth is, 90% of your bail business will be initiated from a phone call before they ever step foot into any of your offices.
How you treat a possible client during a phone call can determine whether they will bail-out with your company or take their business elsewhere. It is absolutely important that you put your best efforts into making clients feel you have their best interest at heart and that they were helped.
Remember that effective business telephone etiquette requires you to be: prepared, present, polite, patient, personable, professional, and proactive.
The founders of Bail Bonds Finder have been working with bail bond companies for over 2 decades, and during that time we have helped hundreds of businesses locate and correct common mistakes their agents make when it comes to phone etiquette. While this is all case by case issues, here are some of the most common things we come across.
Not answering incoming phone calls. This is the equivalent of locking your front entrance just as a customer is about to open the door. In today's age of caller ID, restricted numbers, scam-calls and telemarketers, it's very easy to ignore calls from numbers you don't recognize. But remember, the bail bonds industry is a time sensitive situation and it's always the first bail agent to answer that gets the business.
Not having a dedicated business number(s). You would be surprised how many bail companies we have worked with who simply used their personal phone numbers as their bail bonds phone number, in theory it sounds great, one number for everything, but in reality it brings a plethora of issues with it. Future customers are likely going to hang up and call another company if they hear your personal voicemail.
Forgetting or not forwarding incoming calls. When you become a bail bondsmen or bail agent you are running the truest form of on-demand services so it’s important to have all your business lines forwarded to your cell phone when you are not in the office. This way you aren’t missing out on any potential clients and can be reached if there is an emergency or sudden change in clients custody.
Answer professionally. Normally a businesses will answer incoming calls as their business name, but just saying "hello?" could really confuse a potential client to whom they are talking to and cause doubt that you are even a legit business. The best way to answer your calls would be to say "Your-Company Bail Bonds, this is Your-Name, how may I help you today?" You immediately establish who your company is, what you do and who they are talking with, and that you are ready to help them right now. For companies who have many DBA's we suggest removing the company name and just saying bail bonds, since you will not know which DBA name they may have seen, this provides a nice catch-all to remain very professional.
Being not so friendly to almost rude. Bail bondsmen are people too and you might be having the worst day/night ever, but it must be paused the moment your company phone rings, as the potential customer on the other side is probably stressed out, upset, and also having the worse day of their life. Adding your fire to their fire will only ignite you losing business, earning a bad rating everywhere possible on the internet and losing a new word of mouth avenue.
Always take notes. From the moment you answer the phone, you should be writing everything down about the call. Important information to write down is the person’s name and other identifying information, what and who they are calling about, and all the details related to their bail needs. This allows you to always be on top of your game, never forgetting a name, and keeping track of everything you have done and what's still needing to be done. Notes help avoid delays.
Putting and leaving people on hold. Ideally, you should never put a potential client on hold, but sometimes it’s necessary. If you can't return back to the phone call within 90 seconds, then you should take a message from that client and inform them that they are first priority to be called back as soon as possible. Handle your distraction promptly and return the call within 3-4 minuets max, after 5 minuets the chances of them contacting another business increases greatly.
Not returning calls. If a potential customer has left you a voicemail, it’s important to get back to them immediately. There is no such thing as "Give me 5 mins" in the bail bonds industry, there is always another company that is ready to handle your clients needs right now. When people are stressed out, waiting even 1 minuet can feel like an eternity, they will simply find the next voice that answers the phone, and your competition will absolutely appreciate you doing that for them.
Given the options, customers will always turn to the company that provides better customer service, kindness, concern to their situation, and ability to be fast and efficient. With less and less people just showing up to bail offices and even with new communication tools and apps that are being made every day, it's still that good old fashion phone call that is undeniably buttering your bail bonds bread. All those tens of thousands of dollars in advertising, websites, bail directories, yellow pages, jail-boards, and social media sites are worthless if your phone call etiquette is not on point.