-By Sally Whitesell For AutoSuccess Magazine
Your phone is ringing. It’s your most important customer calling.
Your dealership has spent a lot of money to get the phones to ring. Every poorly handled call is a lost opportunity that you can’t afford. When service advisors – who are already working at a frenetic pace – answer the phone, they often sound abrupt and rushed. This is understandable, as their main goal is to get the question answered/the client scheduled so they can get off the phone and return to the task at hand. Calls are unintentionally treated as an interruption instead of an opportunity.
Customers who initiate inbound calls convert faster, spend more, and have a higher retention rate.1
Service BDCs are necessary in order to deliver exceptional service and increase profits. Call center staff will take control of calls and free up your advisors for their face to face with clients. They can schedule appointments, answer questions, send out pre-visit maintenance reminders, and do service followups to make sure your clients are completely satisfied before the survey arrives.
It isn’t enough to combine service calls with your sales BDC. Service calls are much more complex; from scheduling requests to helping a client who is stranded. In order to handle these calls professionally, your BDC employees need to have service-specific training. They have the ability to make or break a day on your service drive! One wrong bit of information can create a bad first impression and unreasonable expectations.
Consider the following scenarios:
Client: I am having an issue with my car and I need to know how long it will take to get it fixed.
BDC: I am not sure, but they will get you in and out as fast as possible. Do you want to set an appointment?
The words “not sure” never sets a good impression and the phrase “As fast as possible” can cause an unrealistic expectation. What if the response went like this?:
BDC: I understand how hard it is to be without your car, but without a professional diagnosis it is impossible to give a completion time estimate. Why don’t we set up a time for you to bring your car in and let one of our Certified Technicians properly diagnose your vehicle so we can give you an accurate estimate and promise time for any needed repairs? I have availability as soon as Wednesday morning at 8 or 11. Which of these times would be more convenient for you?
As you can see, much more realistic expectations are set, and the end result gets the client in the door! This should be the goal of every call:
Get the customer in the door
Most dealerships have the capability to listen to incoming calls, yet this service is not used often enough for training. Typically, employees hear their calls if something bad has transpired, and then we tell them how the call should have been handled. Is this reasonable?
What if we taught employees how to handle all types of calls and situations before mistakes are made?
Not only would this save the employee from embarrassment, it would save the department from dealing with unrealistic expectations, and save you lost profits from potentially losing a customer.
In order to make this department effective:
- supply them with word tracks for multiple situations
- Listen to calls with your staff and praise them for a job well done
- Use less-than-successful calls as a learning exercise
- Encourage your team to come up with suggestions as to what could have been said to get a more positive end result… to get the customer in the door!
This department can play a critical role in increasing your stores CSI, customer retention and sales in all departments. Isn’t that worth a little time and training? I think I hear your phone ringing…