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What is Your Phone Performance IQ?

Most calls to your dealership are from customers who can’t find or confirm some specific information online.

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Most calls to your dealership are from customers who can’t find or confirm some specific information online. Understanding the 5-year-old Purdue University statistic that more than 92 percent of customers form their opinion of a company based on its phone performance, you should ask yourself “What is our Phone performance IQ?” The key to this is integrity and quality. Trust is earned through the customer experience where your dealership’s integrity and quality meet one another.

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On the phones, your integrity presents itself initially with the transparency your team displays. Thanks to Google and the wealth of information available on the Internet, customers have transparency and expect it when their customer journey switches from Internet to phone.

We all have great technology in our hands. There are very cool things we can do from our phone. Text-to-speech — and the intelligence to make sense of it and return relevant answers to the user — can be a true game changer. The quality of your phone performance requires dealers to use the latest phone technologies.

Let’s bring this together in a common example: Approximately 71 percent of calls to sales are about availability. In simple terms, callers want to confirm that you have a vehicle in stock before they pay a visit. When callers hear agents say they have to check and need call the customer back, callers think to themselves, “Are you not being transparent (Integrity) with me or do you not have the technology in place to answer my question (Quality)?” This sentiment is represented by the numbers as reported by Marchex:

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Average Appointment Set Rate on:

Initial Inbound call          32 percent
On the return call           13 percent

Engage the Customer

Before your customers call your dealership, they spend hours on the Internet exploring and researching cars. The callers want conversation and counsel, not just quick answers to questions. This is where your quality and integrity can shine. As reported in FixthePhones.com, with sales calls that result in an appointment, BDC agents were friendly 82 percent of the time, versus only 70 percent of the time on calls that didn’t result in an appointment. When you discuss the caller’s current vehicle, it leads into a naturally friendly conversation.

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“Moving from an Accord to a Pilot — is this a family planning move?”

When an appointment is set, the current vehicle is discussed 23 percent of the time, versus only 5 percent on calls that don’t result in an appointment.

Placing a focus on your Phone Performance IQ can require some tough decisions about your phone process along with strenuous phone training and coaching — and, of course, great measurement of all customer touchpoints. That said, the result of high IQ interactions with customers will pay dividends and provide an ROI that extends far beyond increased appointment set rates or sales. Believe it or not, calling a dealership is a significant event for customers, and when your team acts as trusted partners, they win those customer’s hearts.

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