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April 19, 2013

Phone interaction tutorial

Some notaries wonder why they are not getting any good Title companies to work with them. When we call some of these notaries up, we see within seconds why they are not popular. First, the way some people answer the phone is horrendous.

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Bad phone answering skills

“Hullo?”.

Do we have to guess who we are talking to? Or should we introduce your next assignment to your son because you forgot to announce yourself over the phone and we can’t tell you apart from your son?

Do your children answer your phone? Big no-no. How about your spouse? If you are a husband and wife team, that is understandable, but you still need separate cell numbers and you still need to let us know who you are when we call you. Otherwise we have to ask.

Title: Hi this is Marg from XYZ Title, may I speak to Susan please
Susan: (abruptly) WHO is this?
Title: I think I introduced myself very clearly — this is Marj from XYZ Title, may I speak to Susan please
Susan: Okay
Title: Okay, are you Susan?
Susan: Yes it is

Title: You made me work very hard just to try to decipher who you were. Are you going to be this difficult working with? I had to repeat who I was twice while you evaded announcing who you were. I am not the only person who needs to give information around here, especially if I am paying. I will call someone else. Thanks.

It is very rude to make someone repeat who they are before you reveal your secret information about who YOU are. If you are rude to Title companies, they have plenty of other inexperienced and unprofessional notaries to choose from.

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Background noise

Is there background noise when you answer the phone? Are there screaming children or other noise. You should apologize about the noise as soon as you can and move out of the noisy area. Otherwise, nobody will have patience for you.

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Someone else answering the phone?

If you are in business for yourself, it is extremely unprofessional to have someone else answering the phone for you. However, if they introduce themselves professionally and can carry on a professional sounding conversation, it might be tolerated. The worst thing you can do is to have a busy-body answer your phone for you who pushes their unwanted helpfulness on a caller.

Title: Hi, this is Marg from XYZ Title, may I speak to Susan please
Fred: Susan is not here, but I can help you.
Title: Thanks for your offer Fred, but I would like to Speak to Susan please, and I clearly requested that I wanted to speak to Susan
Fred: Can I help you with something? I can do everything that Susan can do
Title: You are being a bit pushy Fred. I am calling for Susan. I do NOT wish to conduct my business with someone other than Susan.

Please notice how Fred is offering unwanted help and trying to push it down Susan’s unwilling throat. This happens a lot when I call people. They don’t take no for an answer and get in trouble with me as a result for rudeness.Notice how Fred didn’t once offer to take a message for Susan. He was pushy and very unhelpful in the ways that Marg might have wanted to be helped. What a headache.

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Asking people to repeat

Do you have other people keep repeating everything they said. Are you paying attention? Or can you just not think clearly, so to avoid having to respond to something you don’t know how to respond to, you ask people to repeat. If you are in a noisy place, or have a glitch in your cell coverage, you might apologize for the sudden static in your cell phone. Tell them that you heard the “I need you there at…. blank o’clock” part. That way they know you are listening and heard everything but the one critical word. That is acceptable. But, if you loudly say, “WHAT?” after everything the other person says, they are not going to hire you. Roughly 15% of our notaries are people who ask us to repeat ourselves multiple times during a conversation. It is very unpleasant and nobody is going to want to pay money to someone who is such a poor communicator.

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Unprofessional remarks and behavior

(1) Oh yeah, you’re calling about that notary thing. (are we in Junior High still?)

(2) I just got my notary. (you mean your notary commission?)

(3) I just got off the phone with the customer, (you mean the borrower)

(4) Annoying or harsh music on your answering machine is considered unprofessional too

(5) Not having your name stated on your answering machine is unprofessional as well.

(6) Not knowing your basic loan signing terms and procedures is unprofessional and dangerous

(7) Answering the phone only to tell someone that you are in a signing. If you are in a signing and can’t talk, then why are you answering the phone?

(8) Answering the phone to tell someone that now is not a good time to talk. Why not let them leave a message if now is such a bad time.

(9) Answering the phone and telling them that you already sent the documents back when you don’t even know who is calling. Do you ASSUME that you are talking to the signing company from that job that you are at right now when it is someone completely different? Dumb!

(10) I’m certified. (you failed to mention which entity certified you)

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Notes section

Most notaries do not include any unique information in their notes section. Instead they start off by talking about the least consequential information you can think of such as E&O insurance, background screening, and the fact that they are certified. Everyone on 123notary is certified by someone. It won’t get you ahead unless you have the 123notary certification icon. Indicating that you are NNA certified on our site will win you 0% more clicks since 90% of everyone else on 123notary is also NNA certified. You might as well say, “Hire me because I have two arms and two legs.”

Write about what makes you unique. Talk about your experience. Number of loans signed. Number of years as a Mortgage Broker. Specific types of loans signed. Do you offer last minute service? How many miles is your radius? Information that is unique to you.

The other notaries all claim to be dependable, reliable and professional, yet only 10% of them actually meet our standards for these adjectives so they sound phony. Do you sound phony? Talk about something that sounds REAL and UNIQUE. If you were a school teacher for 25 years, then you can claim to be good at nitpicking other people’s work and noticing all of their mistakes and everyone reading your notes will believe you.

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Tone

Some people just start out sounding unpleasant. Their words might be good ones, but their tone just doesn’t sound appealing at all. Talk to me on a bad day and I have tone too. But, some people always have tone. Try to sound pleasant when talking to clients or prospective clients.

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Arguing

Do you argue with clients? They want it their way. Don’t say, “Well I usually xyz”. Nobody wants to hear this. You should be asking them how they want it done? Would you like tomatoes on that? Now you are talking! Don’t accuse your clients of being overly demanding. Do they pay you? Then work for them and do what they want for the right price.

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Vagueness & Rambling

Do you answer questions with vague answers?

Q. How far do you go?

A. Well, I usually cover Carbon county, but I might go to Hutchinson county if it is not too far in because my niece lives there and ….

Q. Lady, can you just tell me your radius in miles please without your life story?

A. Oh, well, it depends.

Q. Thanks for the help, I’ll call someone else

People in the signing industry are tired of this type of run around. Just answer the question the way it was phrased.

Q. Can you get the documents sent back to me tonight?

A. Well, it depends on where the signing is, because it is East of me, there is no drop box, but then if it is South, I could come around on highway 19, and then I could…

Q. Just tell me if you can get the documents back to me tonight… the signing is in Waxahatchie

A. Oh, well in that case, that is Southwest, so let me spend five minutes calculating while I keep you tied up on the phone… hmmm.

Q. Never mind, I’ll call someone else who can drop it in the drop box tonight.

Boy, what a hassle. This is not brain surgery here. Just say, “Yes, I’ll get it in the drop box tonight — guaranteed!”. And then do it.

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Basically, we put up with a lot of unprofessional behavior. The smart notaries tend to be argumentative while the newer notaries often can’t function at all. Communicating is very hard for many, as they can not make a simple request without telling you their life story. Nobody has patience for this. People at signing companies deal with 100 notaries per day, and need their questions answered fast, and there is no time for nonsense. If you can’t communicate and do your job correctly, you will be sitting on the bench your entire career. It is not that difficult to be a notary. Just know your terminology and procedures, and learn to communicate effectively.

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3 Comments »

  1. I ouldn’t agree more with almost all of your points. This is not restricted to the professionalism of a NSA, it covers every person that engages the public for a living. Speaking of which, WalMart needs to do something about their clerks.

    “(7) Answering the phone only to tell someone that you are in a signing. If you are in a signing and can’t talk, then why are you answering the phone?” —- The reason I will answer my phone, even if in a signing, is to make sure that it is not an emergency. Additionally, most agencies will not leave a message or call back if it hits the voicemail.

    From a NSA’s persepctive, my pet peeve with signing agencies calling me is that they almost always spit their introduction out in 1/4 of a second, making sure that no human can understand what they just said. For instance, “Hi this is Jeff from XYZ Signing.” Jeff says this so fast, and mumbles it, making sure that I have no clue of who he is. I know you guys have to call so many people all day long, but can’t you stretch that introduction out just long enough so that I can process the information?

    George

    Comment by george — April 19, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

  2. “Basically we put up with a lot of unprofessional behavior”. I’m sorry, but frankly the entries I have read on this blog are not only unprofessional, they are vindictive, insulting, condescending and arrogant. Many of your comments in previous posts would have resulted in your termination from most companies that have a professional HR department-they could get sued for employees making such blatant blanket prejudicial statements and creating a hostile work environment. I don’t know who “we” is, or “admin” is, but this blog is a poor reflection on 123Notary and has no business calling others out on unprofessional behavior.

    Comment by Lee — April 20, 2013 @ 1:54 am

  3. The calls I get are poor connections where every third word is clipped and I professionally apologize, state what I think they said, and ask if they would repeat or call on a land line. I believe there are air head notaries, but get off your condemnation of us all.

    Comment by Alan — April 21, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

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