According to Pew Research, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone today. So, it’s no surprise that more dealership business is being done on the phone. After all, it’s a lot faster to follow a “click-to-call” button than fill out a website form or send an email. However, too many dealerships miss phone ups and call-back opportunities — and that means lost sales. That’s why it’s more important than ever to adopt a communication platform that closes the loop of missed calls by bringing mobile and desk phones together seamlessly and automatically adds call information to your CRM.
Shults Auto Group in Western New York added this kind of system and saw year-over-year sales increase 20 percent. Service show rates also nearly tripled. A closer look at the group’s experience helps explain why this type of system is so valuable.
As VP of Marketing Matt Kahm explains, the group knew it was missing phone ups, but it didn’t know why. “Phone ups are the most important aspect of the dealership across the board,” he said, “but we didn’t have the ability to track phone opportunities and push that information into our CRM. We were losing calls and business.”
This realization led the group to install a communication platform that would bring all calls to its two retail centers under one company umbrella, including the employees’ company-owned smartphones, so flow could be tracked, analyzed and reported on. “We were way ahead of the curve for using this technology in automotive,” Kahm said, “but we knew at the end of it, we would have the most fluid phone system you can have, with access to every piece of data needed to track call flows.”
That fluid system revealed previously unknown problems with the group’s process. Most critically, its BDC was understaffed. “Once I had the information and could see the call flows, I was able to beef up staffing and tripled our BDC representatives,” Kahm said. “We were losing business due to not being able to answer the calls coming in. We’re now staffed appropriately and our sales and service appointments have increased.”
Along with investing in more people, the group used the data to create a better call routing process. For example, an analysis of call flow led to changes in the service department. Previously, a call to a service advisor who was on the phone would ring and ring until the caller left a message or hung up in frustration. Now the system knows if a service advisor is on the line and automatically routes those calls to the BDC where they can be picked up immediately.
The new system and the ability to act on call data has yielded incredible results. Last year the group set 326 appointments with 191 service shows — right on par with any other dealership. A year later it set 513 appointments with 331 shows. Add that to the 20 percent increase in sales and you have a system that has more than paid for itself.
In addition to the increased sales and service appointments, Shults reaped less tangible but just as valuable benefits, like the ability to own the numbers and communications from mobile and desk phones when employees leave the dealership. With a turn-over rate of up to 80 percent in the industry, dealers who let employees use their own smartphones wave goodbye to that book of business when those employees walk out the door. Shults now owns and retains that information — which is how it should be.
Don’t let an underperforming phone system cost you money. By learning how a robust communication platform can help you close the loop on missed calls, you can see similar results to Shults and win in today’s mobile world.