Agency Performance Partners


Why Does No One Want to Pick up the Phone? Don’t Take It Out on the DOFI

Posted on June 2, 2022 by Alex Arellano

Why Does No One Want to Pick up the Phone? Don’t Take It Out on the DOFI

Almost everyone in an insurance agency knows this scenario: the phone starts ringing, and it seems like no one wants to answer it. Everyone feels like they’re too busy to pick up the phone, or that the phone call will only interrupt them.

“The key to it is the phone ringing is opportunity. We have to answer that phone if the phone’s ringing. It’s why we exist. On the other end of that call is someone with a need.”

So the phone just rings and rings, until finally someone gets it. But this scenario is a big problem for several reasons.

All week we’ve been discussing how these phone calls are anything but interruptions. In fact, these phone calls present us with incredible opportunities.

They’re opportunities to help your clients, for upsells and cross-sells, and to show your value as an insurance agent. When your phone rings, it means that someone is calling you, instead of your competition. 

And as we discussed, those phone calls are why we exist as an insurance agency in the first place. On the other end of that call is someone with a need, whether they’re shopping for their insurance, taking away a vehicle, if they have a claim you need to be involved in, or if they have a question about coverage.

The best way to get that phone answered? Set up a tiered system, where a DOFI is the first line of defense. And make sure you’re never avoiding your clients.


DOFI: Director of First Impressions

What exactly is a DOFI, and how can they help us address this phone problem?

In our last video, we spoke about setting up a process around answering the phone. There needs to be a tiered system, where the first ring is answered by the receptionist, the second ring is answered by the backup, and the third ring goes to the next tier.

After that third ring, management or leadership gets on the phone, which either means everyone else should be on the phone, or there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

But let’s circle back to that first person, the receptionist. We also call that person the director of first impressions, or the DOFI.

This person plays a huge role in your agency, and they need to be trained on exactly what kinds of things to say, what to say, how to be friendly, and what tone to use. Your DOFI should be able to answer the phone confidently, and even have a certain script to go through.

It’s the DOFI’s job to get the person on the phone warmed up, and then figure out where to transfer the call. 

But let’s say the DOFI wants to transfer that call to you, and you’re in that place where you don’t want to be interrupted with a phone call. Make sure you don’t take it out on the DOFI, or whoever is on the other end of the line.


Don’t Take it Out on the DoFI

When someone feels like they don’t want to get on the phone, that feeling doesn’t only have to do with answering the phone in the first place. There may also be feelings of resistance if they get transferred a call.

But if the DOFI feels like you’re the right person to transfer the call to, and your phone rings, you need to be nice when you pick up, no matter how you’re feeling. You never know who is on the other end of that line.

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen this: someone answers the phone, not recognizing it’s a transfer, and they start with something like: “What do you want?” or “What’s up, I’m super busy.”

Can you imagine if you’re a customer and that’s how your insurance agency answers the phone? Or if you’re the DOFI, where your job is to transfer the phone?

Even if you’re in the zone, in the middle of typing up an important email, you can’t have a shark tone when you pick up. Remember that tonality is important, and that person is calling you for a reason, with a need.

You need to be prepared to impress whoever is on the other end of that line, and be nice. It shouldn’t be all that difficult just to be nice. 


But What if I’m “Busy?”

You should know by now just how much we’re against the word “busy.” 

“Busy” is not a solution, and instead, we need to reframe our thinking, and use the word “productive.”

But let’s say we’re in the middle of something and the phone rings, what do we do?

Don’t forget, putting someone on a brief hold is acceptable. If you want to finish up that sentence, putting someone on hold is just fine. And don’t be afraid to communicate with the DOFI, letting them know your status.

When they transfer a call to you, you can say: “I’ll just be a second” or “I’m just finishing something up.”

Then, you can get on that call when you’re fresh and ready.

But what about if you are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed, and you think it should be addressed? You can also let your DOFI know that, and take a breath for a minute. Get yourself ready before taking that call, so you answer it in the right mindset.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to keep in mind is that we should never be avoiding our clients. When that phone rings, it’s money for you and money for the agency. It’s opportunities calling, and clients who need you, and we should never pass up on those opportunities. 


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