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Your Customers Are Not Calling To Purchase A Vehicle Or Set A Service Appointment, They Are Calling To Rule You Out!

January 12, 2021

After many conversations with friends and advisors, and after an average of 14 hours online doing product and price investigations, the average car buyer will make seven calls to dealerships….with just one goal.

by Chip King

Sometimes the right perspective changes everything.

It is commonly misunderstood that callers to your dealership are looking to set an appointment or purchase a vehicle. While this may be true in a sense, what they are actually doing is looking for a way to eliminate you as part of the competition. In effect, that means that phone calls give you the opportunity to remain competitive.

After many conversations with friends and advisors, and after an average of 14 hours online doing product and price investigations, the average car buyer will make seven calls to dealerships….with just one goal. Each call is made to narrow the list of final choices so that the customer only has to make a physical visit to one dealership. In other words, the goal is to rule you out!

Now, consider the “average” caller’s experience when they call dealerships, and ask yourself where you fall here:

  • 1 in 5 callers are unable to reach a sales agent on the first call.
  • Only half, 50%, of connected callers are asked and willingly provide their contact information for lead management.
  • 18% are offered a return call to provide the requested information, allowing the customer to continue their research and elimination process.
  • More than half are advised that pricing is best finalized in the dealership.

2020 has changed our market forever in many ways, and remote and virtual conversations have more of an impact on our bottom lines than ever. It has never been more important to provide the customer with exactly what they need to rule out your competitors and choose your dealership! Our market share, CSI and financial statements depend on it.

Apologies for the overused quote, but you can’t fix what you don’t measure!

You have spent years measuring your customer’s showroom experience—now is the time to measure the caller’s journey in your business. You need strong metrics to help you monitor phone calls and ensure that you are NOT being ruled out as part of the competition.

  • Imagine having live reporting on the results of each Sales and Service call in real time.
  • How powerful would it be for you to have a chance to correct a call gone wrong in the moment, instead of tomorrow (if ever)?
  • What if you had a daily report card for each phone handler?
  • Or the opportunity to train to specific opportunities instead of the same old generic programs we are so used to running?
  • What if you find that your call volume varies enough by hour to impact connectivity due to insufficient staffing?

Most dealers experience a huge increase in unconnected calls each day between noon and 1PM. Customers are on lunch and can make calls, but too often dealership staff is also not available! During this period of time each day, many of your calls to Service are inquiring about pricing, but they don’t get answered and are frequently terminated without an offered appointment. Many of your Service calls are the dreaded “Status Update Call” where staff was supposed to call them. Leaving these calls unanswered paints a negative picture for your caller.

When I ran my dealership, I tasked my Sales and Service Managers with listening to calls randomly and advising me regarding our effectiveness. That was the train wreck you can imagine it was! 

In fact, when I tried to get my team to listen to calls they did not discover any issues, and rather covered up issues or didn’t recognize them because they were not educated in what a good call sounded like. It took creating a dedicated, un-biased team of listeners to report the facts that allowed us to train and correct our poor lead management and caller’s journey. As result of our discovery, we decided to take an active approach to our phone calls and CallRevu was born.

Now is the time for you to measure every interaction between your customers and your team—chat, text, as well as inbound and outbound calls. CRM alone is not enough to give you the view you need.

Take control of your phones before it’s too late. Don’t make it easy to rule you out!!

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