Recently, many dealerships have shifted their focus to service to maintain a consistent flow of revenue while waiting out current inventory shortages. This has proven to be the right move for dealers, as customers have reacted to reduced inventory by keeping vehicles longer, leading to a greater number of service requests. To this point, phone call tracking data from thousands of dealerships revealed that there has been a significant increase in call volume that service departments can and should capitalize on.
From 2019 to 2021, there has been a 16.5% growth in inbound service call volume. Customers are seeking help now more than ever to get their vehicles serviced. With the rise in service calls, here are three ways to ensure your dealership is not missing out on this surge in service requests.
1. Coverage, coverage and more coverage
There are multiple solutions to ensure adequate coverage and staffing of your service phones. Beyond arranging schedules to where agents are available at peak times and days customers call into your service department, dealerships can implement a multi-ring system. A multi-ring’s function is to take an inbound call and have that call ring to multiple agents’ lines. This reduces the possibility of the call being missed or going to voicemail. Another solution to ensure adequate coverage is a phone bridge (also called an IVR or phone tree). A phone bridge gives customers preselected options, so they are sent directly to the desired department, reducing wait times and improving customer experiences.
2. Set firm appointments
Anytime an agent speaks with a customer, inviting the customer into the dealership is a necessity. Service agents should avoid quoting prices or attempting to handle detailed questions over the phone. Agents need to highlight the importance of coming into the dealership for an appointment, so the service team, which has expertise in the make and model of the customer’s vehicle, can provide proper assistance. Additionally, ensuring the customer is booked for a firm appointment — meaning he or she has agreed to a specific day and time to come in — increases the likelihood of the customer actually coming in for his or her appointment. On average, 75% of customers who agree to a firm appointment show up.
3. Pick up the phone and start dialing
Outbound phone calls are a win-win for both service departments and customers. For service teams, making outbound calls allows agents to confirm appointments to organize the schedule, provide status updates to avoid unnecessary confusion or frustration, and bring customers back into the dealership if they missed a prior appointment or have servicing due for their vehicle. Customers are not left in the dark, and happy customers come back and provide future business. Outbound phone calls can help better manage and reduce an influx of incoming calls, and they allow service departments to provide customers a better overall experience.
With the emphasis on service, exceptional phone call performance is more crucial than ever. By handling the increase in inbound call volume with high importance, dealerships can take advantage of this opportune time to not only survive but thrive.