Best Practices

Training the Director of First Impressions

Dealership Phone Receptionist Training Video

…or what I like to call, The Director of First Impressions.

[highlight color=”ff9900″ font=”black”]For Jerry’s full transcript of this video (could be used to reference and train at the dealership), click the “Continue Reading” button over there…[/highlight]


Hi Jerry Thibeau with Phone Ninjas.

So you think you are just a receptionist, a lonely old operator? You are a lot more than that and today I am going to give you a promotion! From this day forth you are now the Director of First Impressions.

See you touch more customers in one day than most of your employees in a month and I feel your customers deserve to be wowed by your amazing skills and in this video segment we’re going to show you how.

Have you ever called home and you got somebody on the phone and within a matter of a couple seconds you knew what type of mood that person was in?

Well that’s the same impression we give customers. See voice inflection plays a very key role in answering the phone. People can tell whether you are rushed, stressed, angry, upset, happy or excited just by the way you answer the phone and we need to deliver that great message each and every time.

Let’s start with the basics.

Step 1 let’s start by smiling, alright? When you are smiling you deliver a great message. People can actually envision the smile on your face and I want them to envision somebody who’s happy. So put a smile on your face, it’s not that hard to do.

Step 2 let’s thank the customer for calling. “Thank you for calling ABC Motors” or if you want to be really upbeat you can say something like, “it’s a great day at ABC Motors thank you for calling”. So get excited when you answer that phone and thank the customer for calling.

Step 3 Introduce yourself by first name; it’s the right thing to do. You’ll create a more receptive customer by giving your first name.

Step 4 let’s ask the customer “how may I direct your call?” It’s not “how may I help you because in fact you’re not going to be helping them. You will be directing that customer to another person or another department. So, it’s “how may I direct your call.” Once you transfer a customer to a department or person your job is not done. Your job is to make sure that customer was properly handled.

See a lot of times customers are going to voicemail and when they go to voicemail they don’t like it. Half the time they choose not to leave a voicemail and hey they might go on to your competitor. They may call somebody else; well we don’t want that to happen. So when you transfer a call make sure it gets handled. Let’s not let it go to voicemail and if you suspect that it’s going to voicemail ask the customer “would you like to leave a voicemail or would you prefer that I give him or her the message and I would ask the customer how do I spell you last name and your first name is and what number would be best to call you back at, great I’m going to send them a text message right now and let them know that you called.

Then I would encourage you to have a list of all your employees’ cell phone numbers and then send them a text message. You can do it from your cell phone or you can choose to do it through an email and here’s an example of the more common places to find text message addresses.

In a browser bar go ahead and type and this will bring you to a site that will provide you with all the differ text message addresses for instance if I want to send to somebody on AT&T a text message I would simply copy the I would then open up my email, type in the persons phone number, give a subject line, then go ahead a type your message.

Now when typing your message you’re only limited to 160 characters for a text message, so keep that in mind when typing out your message and you may want to remove your signature file and replace it with your first name. And that’s how you send a text message by using email.

Now let’s listen to coach Maggie as she demonstrates the proper way to answer the phone.

“Thank you for calling ABC Motors, this is Maggie. How may I direct your call?”

“It’s a wonderful day here at ABC Motors, this is Maggie. How may I direct your call?”

Is that not a professional greeting?

That’s the way it’s done right there. You can actually hear the smile in her voice as she answered the phone and that’s what we want to do. You know when I listen to that greeting I picture a happy go lucky person sitting behind a desk with a big smile on their face. And here’s a picture of Maggie hahaha, Maggie is going to kill me when she sees this video. That’s not really Maggie. Here’s a picture of Maggie.

Let me tell you a little story about Maggie. Maggie came to work for Phone Ninjas a couple years ago and before she was a receptionist/operator for a psychologist and somebody had heard that I was looking for a new employee and they reached out to me and said, “Jerry I have the perfect person for you, you’ve got to talk to Maggie. She’s probably the best receptionist I have ever seen and you’re going to love her and I interviewed her and I did like her and I’m like I’ve got to hire this gal. And I did and she’s been a great employee ever since. And I tell you this story because I want you to realize that you know we all have to start somewhere in our carriers and ya maybe the operator job receptionist is an entry level job but if you want to get out of that job, be the best receptionist you can be. Because if you are just an average receptionist guess what….you’ll probably be a receptionist for life.

When you’re great people are going to take notice of that and they are going to want to help further your career. So be an amazing receptionist don’t just be average. In conclusion I’m going to give you 5 more simple rules to live by.

Rule 1 I will not let the customer know my desk is on fire and that 4 other lines are ringing. I will make a game of just how much I can accomplish using skills such as diplomacy, courtesy, and tact.

Rule 2 Just for this call I will remember that it is the zillionth time I’ve taken a call, but for that person calling in it may be their first

Rule 3 Just for this call I will treat this call as if I was the owner of this business and remember the golden rule “do unto others”.

Rule 4 Just for this call I will remember that the person on the other end of that line is our most valued possession -a Customer.

Rule 5 Just for this call I will remember I am not only representing this business, I am also representing myself.

And those are the 5 Rules I want you to live by. So how are we going to remember those 5 Rules?

Well, I like to come up with trigger phrases that help jog your memory. So for everyone out there watching…when you walk by your receptionist we are going to use a trigger phrase that’s going to jolt your receptionist into action and that trigger phrase is SHAZZAM!

So operator/receptionist when somebody walks by and says SHAZZAM I want you to put a smile on your face and I want you to go into greatness mode and deliver that great presentation to your customers as you answer the phone.

This is Jerry Thibeau with Phone Ninjas.


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  • J
  • March 4, 2013
First five people who give their receptionist a "SHAZZAM" and then post the video, get a tin of Ninja Chocolate Chip Cookies mailed to them.
Director of First Impessions... I like it! So true! Thanks for information Mr. Thibeau
JerryThibeau Where are you accepting the SHAZZAM videos - should they be sent to you?
  • J
  • March 14, 2013
dealerrefresh e-mail to me or post on my facebook page.