Modern solutions from CallRevu for a tried-and-true part of the dealership.
It’s no secret — the automotive sales industry has changed. While many of us may be tired of hearing how our industry is different than it was just a couple years ago, this has continued to remain a prevalent talking point because it is important and the changes are here to stay.
Across all markets, in industries big and small, consumer buying habits have shifted drastically. Even with tech giants like Amazon reporting that its online sales volume has gone down since the COVID-19 related ecommerce boom, the model primarily normalized by Amazon remains king — and your customers know it.
Consumers of all goods and services know that the organizations they do business with (say, your dealership!) have resources available to them to make the shopping journey similar to the experience found with their favorite online retailers.
However, auto sales tend to differ from sales of smaller ticket items such as home goods or clothing. As much as the Carvanas or Vrooms of the world want us to believe that online-only car buying is not a trend but the new normal, through these tumultuous years, brick-and-mortar car dealers have found that many — if not most — consumers still feel that human connection is necessary before making one of the largest financial investments of their lives.
So, while a dealership’s virtual showroom and online monthly payment calculators are an important piece to the modern automotive sales model, other more “traditional” aspects are still an important piece of the puzzle. Namely, phone calls.
While a business’ phone is far from the latest technology implemented in sales strategies, it can’t be ignored. However, the process in which phones are answered by salespeople needs a facelift.
Gone are the days that phones can go unanswered with the excuse that there were no available salespeople. Customers know from calling your competitors that artificial intelligence (AI) can help them get closer to a solution until a living employee is available.
Industry experts have noted this change in calling expectations, and vendors have rushed to the scene to provide revolutionized phone systems to train your employees; provide better, more automated customer service; connect with more leads and, ultimately, increase sales potential and profits.
Case in Point
One dealership that has found success revolutionizing the phone call process is Hall Automotive, a division of MileOne Autogroup with 16 dealerships along the Virginia and North Carolina coasts and one in Huntersville, North Carolina, just outside of the Charlotte metro area. Hall is an established organization, they’ve had a presence in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, region since 1975.
A business that has been around for nearly 50 years, such as Hall, is bound to see fluctuations in trends, technology, the economy and other factors that shift society and buying habits. The Hall team is aware of this and has reflected on all the changes their stores have seen.
George Ransom, the regional general manager of seven Hall Automotive stores explains, “We’re adaptable in this business. We’ve been through recessions and manufacturer bankruptcies and more, and we find a way to figure it out. That’s what good car people do.”
Besides the economic factors Ransom describes above, the last five decades have seen immense technological growth. While phones have been used by businesses for a century or more, the phone technology of today is not the same technology that was used when Hall Automotive opened its doors.
Hall Automotive has been able to remain successful and profitable by being adaptable, as Ransom said above. Updating their phone software is an excellent example of how the seasoned dealership has adapted.
The Hall team utilizes software offered by CallRevu, a call intelligence platform that provides insights into inbound and outbound calls in order to provide a better customer service and to coach dealership teams on improving phone processes.
In this omnichannel communication realm we find ourselves in, we now know that different customers want to be reached in different ways. So, although some consumers prefer text or email communication, there is still a need for sophisticated phone technology to reach those customers that prefer to be called.
According to Jordyn Crocker, the internet sales director with Hall Automotive, “[CallRevu] has been able to streamline their product in order for us to communicate quicker and more efficiently.”
And Hall Automotive has been communicating better with customers. In fact, when looking at the dealer group’s phone call statistics from August 2021 compared to July 2022, 2% more calls reached the sales team at a Hall dealership — that is 112 calls (sales opportunities) that were missed prior to Hall’s adopting of CallRevu’s software.
Many businesses may not even realize how many missed sales opportunities they have due to lack of streamlined phone processes. If a business doesn’t have any data to show them how many opportunities they’re missing, how would they know they have a problem that needs to be addressed?
This is part of the reasoning behind CallRevu’s SalesVision offering. Managers that utilize SalesVision receive a daily report outlining KPIs about the previous day’s calls. The software also automatically transcribes all phone calls, and will — again, automatically — conclude what needs to be addressed to improve the phone process.
For example, if the system knows a certain question that sales representatives need to be asking on every call, and notes that this question has not been asked a certain amount of times or by certain employees, that is a specific action item managers can address.
This training assistance aspect of SalesVision has been especially helpful to the Hall team. Crocker says, “We have employee report cards, so we can really drill into each employee to do one-on-one trainings, which has been successful for us.” She continues, “We can really identify where we can help each person. Because then, collectively, the store does better.”