Fact vs. Myth: Phone Etiquette Directly Impacts Your Dealership’s Bottom Line

Fact vs. Myth: Phone Etiquette Directly Impacts Your Dealership’s Bottom Line  

Most dealers struggle with proper phone etiquette. Inevitably, a customer's first interaction with you is on the phone and your initial conversation can make or break whether they do business with you.

By Megan Pike, a marketing specialist at Car Wars

Dealers are faced with the need to constantly innovate to stay ahead of the competition. From texting to video selling to buyer intent software, there’s always a new technology for dealers to consider investing in. One tool, however, that dealers can continually leverage to positively position themselves against the competition is the phone. More specifically, dealers can implement proper phone etiquette to bring in more customers and convert more leads.  

To this day, most dealers struggle with proper phone etiquette. Inevitably, a customer’s first interaction with you is on the phone and your initial conversation can make or break whether they do business with you. When the phone rings at your dealership, there is an interested customer on the other side, and it is your responsibility to convert that phone lead into an appointment.  

There are often many misconceptions about phone etiquette and phone processes, the importance of it, and how the phone can impact your bottom line. I’m here to set the record straight and help you get the most out of call tracking and phone handling.  

MYTH: People prefer to schedule appointments online via form fills.   

  • The phone continues to be the preferred and most efficient communication method. Instead of a form fill, customers find it more effective to pick up the phone and talk to an agent who can immediately answer any questions. Therefore, it is important to ensure you are taking advantage of the phone and connecting every sales opportunity with a qualified agent.  

FACT: People feel more connected and acknowledged when they talk to a real person.  

  • 51% of customers won’t call back if their initial call is not connected. This proves customers want to be acknowledged and expect immediate help over the phone.  
  • Smile over the phone and use the customer’s name throughout the call to ensure they feel invited and valued at your dealership.  

MYTH: Basic phone etiquette is antiquated and unimportant in today’s world.  

  • Phone calls present a unique opportunity to gain new customers and grow customer retention by providing an excellent customer experience over the phone. 

FACT: Dealerships receive the most calls from customers in the morning hours earlier in the week.  

  • In the past few years, inbound call volume has been consistently highest between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. 
  • Schedule your team calls later in the day so that you can staff the phone during peak times.  

MYTH: Answering the phone and saying, “How can I help?” is proper phone etiquette.  

  • Every time the phone rings, there is a dollar value associated with that customer interaction. Instead of using basic phrases, we recommend exceeding expectations over the phone. For example, conducting pre-call research on your customer so you can tailor and personalize the call. Spending the extra time on these initial phone calls can help you convert them into appointments.  

FACT: Being a proactive listener improves customer experience. 

  • Think one step ahead of the customer. For example, if they are a parent, book an appointment around their schedule, “We have a 9 a.m. appointment available, so you can stop by after carpool drop off.”  

MYTH: Your customer will ask all the right questions and ask for an appointment on their own.  c

  • A customer may call to inquire about a specific vehicle, but it will be up to you to sell the appointment and get them into your dealership. 
  • Use the Whittle and Shepard technique. Start by asking the customer if the beginning or end of the week works best. Next, ask if mornings or evenings are better. Then, offer two firm appointment times for the customer to choose from. 

Phone performance directly impacts customer experience. In today’s fast-paced world, let us do the heavy lifting for you. Being top-notch on the phone should not be complicated or time consuming, and we are here to help.

To learn more, visit www.carwars.com.  

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