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The Phone: Fixed Operations’ Biggest Blindspot

Why and how you should be leveraging the phone and analyzing the right data to boost CSI and drive new revenue in fixed operations.

Stephanie Reynolds is the senior marketing manager for Car Wars

The service department is the financial hub of the dealership, yet the phone in service is often viewed as less of a priority when compared to sales. However, developing top-notch phone skills is an important way to drive new customers into your service bays, as a well-handled phone call is three times more likely to bring a customer into your service department.

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Often the case, managers are blind to what is actually happening on their phone calls, which of their marketing sources are actually generating quality leads, and how well service representatives and advisors are converting those leads into booked appointments. This lack of insight results in negative customer satisfaction index (CSI) impacted by poor customer experience and little to no accountability for advisors’ phone-handling performance.

The right tools and phone insight alongside polished processes will allow for smarter operational decisions to occur and real-time adjustments to be made that will grow the business. 

Actionable Data

A common and unfortunate problem many dealerships have on the phone is successfully connecting customers’ calls. Utilizing a tool to manage and monitor a dealership’s calls paints a full picture of what is happening with the leads coming into and out of the dealership. 

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Transparent reporting into call volume, call length and connection trends allows managers to pinpoint when and why callers are failing to connect to the service department. As a result, they can make timely decisions and adjustments to routing and team schedules to ensure prospective customers are always speaking with someone who can help at the dealership.

Culture of Accountability

What gets monitored gets managed. Managers can hold advisors accountable to their phone handling and call outcomes when they have unbiased and comprehensive reporting into individual phone scheduling stats. Rather than guessing, hard data allows managers to evaluate each advisor’s success on all calls and provide the necessary feedback to improve their connection and scheduling success.

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A powerful use of call tracking technology is the ability to receive missed opportunities alerts. When an advisor fails to set an appointment or a caller hits voicemail, an automated alert can be sent via email or text to one or multiple managers at the dealership. This way, action can be taken immediately and a qualified employee can rescue the opportunity.

Some providers offer expert call coaching specialists who critique and score on several areas from each call — how the staff member answered the call and handled tough questions as well as how the call ended. An immediate way to start improving advisors’ phone handling is to delegate a manager at the dealership to review a few calls each week with the entire team and open a dialogue on areas for improvement. Staff can then be held accountable for putting these newly learned skills into practice.

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CSI and Customer Retention Boost

A great phone experience immediately sets the tone for the customer’s service experience. Customers choose dealerships that value their time and address their concerns efficiently and effectively. A customer who is simply looking for an overdue status update but is put on hold for four minutes just to be sent to a voicemail that is never checked is unlikely to service his or her car with your dealership again.

The right tools uncover gaps and equip managers with the information to make better business decisions and, overall, capture more revenue. Prioritizing the phone in service allows you to better serve your customers and operate more effectively.

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