Do you remember playing with LEGO bricks as a kid? If you’re like me, you probably had boxes overflowing with random pieces and a giant base plate to connect the bricks. You may have even had competitions with friends and family to see whose LEGO creation was the biggest and coolest. You designed an extravagant plan yourself, or just followed the instructions that came in the box, to build a masterpiece to show off to your friends. But if you weren’t careful and didn’t connect every LEGO piece together, your whole plan would fall apart and you’d have to pick up the pieces.
No one wants to spend hours of hard work for one missed step to mess up your whole plan. Just like building your cool LEGO design, one missed step at the beginning of a customer’s experience with your dealership could cause the rest of their journey to crumble. That strong foundation starts on the phone.
When handling the phone at your dealership, the most important thing you can do is promptly connect your customers to someone who can help. If you aren’t connecting callers ear-to-ear with their intended party, your LEGO masterpiece will crumble before the foundation is even laid. Most likely, your customers are already moving on to your competitors and you’re left making outbound calls trying to grasp at any lead you can.
To ensure your LEGO house doesn’t fall apart and avoid spending your time picking up the pieces, follow these three steps.
Answer the Phone
This may sound obvious. But in 2021, an average of 41% of inbound calls to dealerships weren’t connected ear-to-ear with a qualified agent who could help. That means close to half of your leads calling in get lost before even speaking to your team.
A missed call is a missed opportunity. Think about how much money you are spending on marketing. Each call that is not connecting is likely worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars in ad spend. Furthermore, it’s a sales opportunity out the window.
A good way to ensure these calls aren’t getting lost is to utilize intelligent call routing techniques like bridges or multi-rings. Bridges will allow customers to instantly get to the agent they need. As soon as they dial your store line, they will get a prompt to “press one for sales, two for service or three for parts” so they aren’t spending minutes being transferred from different departments and receptionists. Multi-rings allow for each call to go through a series of agent lines that can be customized to whatever works best at your dealership. By doing so, more agents lines will ring to allow for a greater chance of someone picking up. In the case a call isn’t answered, don’t forget to quickly follow up with an outbound call to save your wobbling LEGO masterpiece from crumbling.
In 2019, 66% of inbound callers were connected to someone who could help when calling a dealership. In 2021, that number dropped to 59%. During that same timeframe, call volume grew by 6%. When thinking about how many calls your dealership gets per day and per month, a 7% drop in connected callers is a significant portion of your leads. That said, with the growth seen in call volume, it’s more important than ever to effectively handle your inbound calls. We found that the highest volume of inbound calls occurs on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. During these times of high call volume, make sure you are fully staffed and agents are manning the phone. Customers have options, and you don’t want them to be on the phone with your competition before you even have a chance to pick up the phone.
Connect with Qualified Agents
Who is answering the phone at your dealership? Are your customers talking to a receptionist who then transfers them to hold on an agent’s line? How long are they on hold? The number one reason that customers aren’t connecting with someone who can help is because they hung up on hold.
In 2021, 28.33% of unconnected callers hung up on hold with an average hold time being 3 minutes. What’s worse? We found that the number of callers willing to wait on hold plummets after just 30 seconds of hold time. Ensure your customers are getting to a sales agent who is readily available and stay on top of making outbound calls to anyone who isn’t helped on their initial attempt to reach you.
Connecting inbound calls to a sales agent who can help is step one in the customer’s journey and your phone handling process. Once you master connecting calls, you give yourself the opportunity to invite customers in, set firm appointments and make a sale. Don’t let your LEGO house fall by slacking on the foundation.
Learn more about how Car Wars is helping thousands of sales and service departments gain visibility on inbound and outbound calls to improve caller experience.