“My customers want to speak to someone live right away!” “People always press 1 regardless of what department they want!” Those are some common excuses for not using a Phone Bridge/ Auto-Attendant/IVR at a dealership. However, the job of the Phone Bridge is to make it easier for your customer to get to the correct live person at your dealership, not just any live person. Think about it. If you needed an oil change and reached Joe in Used Car Sales—that surely does not improve the customer experience. There are many benefits to using a phone bridge at your dealership that outweigh those common excuses for not using one.
1) Customer Service Index: By breaking out calls by Sales, Service, and Parts, the appropriate people can listen to calls for each department for quality assurance purposes. Are your customers frustrated when they want to reach Service and instead they are bounced around the Sales floor before finally reaching Service? Send these calls directly to the Service department and listen to them after to see how they were handled. This results in a better customer experience and higher CSI score because you are ensuring callers are getting to the department they want in a quick, efficient manner. Keeping your phone bridge organized and consistent will allow customers to get where they need to go quickly.
2) Car Wars and CRM Clean-Up: We’ll scrutinize and categorize all your inbound sales calls with Car Wars. We listen to all inbound sales calls and tell you how well the call was handled. If it was a fumbled call, we will send a Missed Opportunity alert to the right person. With a phone bridge, we’ll only listen to and categorize calls where someone pressed the Sales extension. Further, we’ll only share Sales calls with your CRM, clearing out those Service and Parts calls from getting mixed up with true sales leads.
3) Professional Image: Gives your dealership a consistent, well-established, and professional image. In fact, most customers are accustomed to dealing with this type of phone handling system when they call a business. It will give your dealership a professional image and shows there is a high level of organization within your store. When you are greeted by a phone bridge/Auto Attendant, what comes to mind? Most people perceive businesses that utilize an Auto Attendant/Phone Bridge to be professional and organized. But remember, keep your choices short and specific (Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Service, and 3 for Parts). The more choices you give a caller, the more annoyed they will become.
4. Three numbers on your site doesn’t work: Customers always call the first number listed. Always. Doesn’t matter how clearly you label sales service and parts, they will call the first one and then get a terrible customer experience as they are connected to the wrong department and muck up CRM in the process.
5. SEO Positive: It allows you to use a single tracking line across all of your online local listing pages (Google+, Yelp, etc . . .) to drive SEO and provide a consistent customer experience across all of your different presence points.
Dealers will pay a lot to make their phone ring. I have heard eCommerce directors say that they routinely spend $300+ to make the phone ring in their store. Why? Because phone leads are the most valuable lead source out there, that’s why. 70% of people will call for a purchase over $100 according to ATG/Oracle. I just checked Auto Trader. Not a lot of inventory available south of $100. So people wanting to buy a car from you are probably going to pick up the phone to start the process. It still shocked me though that dealerships would spend so much to make their phone ring, so I wanted to see what was happening when it did.
I pulled call data from some of our largest Car Wars users for the month of April. The data set included 534,690 calls across hundreds of dealerships. That’s a ton of calls. The data was surprising.
Out of 534,690 calls, 97,980 (18.3%) came into the store on a sales line or sales extension. That is less than 1 out of every 5. Put another way, four out of every five calls coming into your dealership come are about something other than buying a car.
That may not seem like that big a deal, but it is absolutely critical that dealers understand what that means. It means that those super expensive sales calls are in danger of getting lost in the noise of all the “other” calls that come into your dealership. The service calls, the parts calls, the calls about getting tags for the vehicle bought last week.
The receptionist or the sales guys fielding these calls are excited and enthusiastic as they field the first few calls every day, but that quickly wears off as the field call after call from people not wanting to buy a car. The phone becomes the boy who cried wolf.
What should you do about it?! Find a way to filter out the noise! Start by using a bridge to route sales calls straight to the sales department and service calls straight to service. Use a CRM that drives the good call traffic to the top. Incentivize your guys to treat that 1 call like gold. Find a call tracking provider that understands what happens in a busy dealership and can help you focus on the calls that matter and do all of those things. Hint – it’s a product called Car Wars from Century Interactive. Those valuable sales calls are too valuable to let them get lost in the noise.
So what happened on those 97, 980 calls? Did they get lost in the noise? Check out my next post to learn how much opportunity is just sitting there waiting for someone to seize it.