It's almost summer and I'm trying to get that beach body ready. I was excited all week to use my one “cheat” meal on In N' Out Burger. As I pulled up to the speaker in the drive-thru, my mouth was watering. I said, “Hello,” but no response. I waited another minute and said, “Hello, anyone there?”…still no response. I knew the restaurant was open, but it was my cheat day and I wasn't about to get in any extra cardio by walking inside. So, I did the next easiest thing — I drove across the street and ordered from Chick-fil-A. I took my well-earned cheat meal, and business, elsewhere simply because I got impatient.
In the automotive world, this scenario is all too familiar. Customers call dealers excited to purchase a new car — but their call either continuously rings without an answer or goes straight to voicemail. They then call the next dealer, and just like that, a quality lead is gone. Still not buying it? Don't worry, we have some data to back it up!
After reviewing millions of calls from thousands of dealer partners in our 2021 data study, Car Wars discovered an area of opportunity occurred in call connection. In 2021, only 66% of callers connected with someone who could help when calling a dealership. To clarify, a connected call is different than an answered call. A connected call means that the customer was able to get ear-to-ear with an agent who could help. An answered call occurs any time a call was picked up — whether an agent picks up or a voicemail.
We want to help you and your team improve call connection, so here are three moves you can make on the phone to boost that number:
The average amount of time a customer was left on hold in 2021 was about 3 minutes. Time is valuable and implementing processes to avoid leaving customers on hold for extended periods of time lessens their frustration and their likelihood of hanging up. Assess the times of day, and days of the week, when your dealership receives the most phone calls. Then, make sure the floor is sufficiently staffed when customers call in so they reach someone who could assist them. If staffing shortages have become a problem, have a routing system such as multiring in place to ensure a customer receives help. A multiring allows customers' calls to be rerouted to an available team member — whether that's to an agent's cell phone, your BDC, or a manager.
A bridge, also known as a phone menu or phone tree, is an automated greeting that provides a customer with options to choose from when calling in. If a customer calls in inquiring about a new vehicle they saw on your website, have an option for Sales to send their call directly to your Sales department. If a customer wants a quote on getting new brake pads, an option routing the call to Service quickly gets them connected with a Service advisor. Routing inbound calls with a bridge minimizes hold times and provides a better experience for the customer when calling your dealership.
Not every call will be answered and that's understandable. However, without proper follow-up, potential sales could be lost. View follow-up as a normal part of your daily routine. Block out time on the calendar to review voicemails and call customers back. Allocating time to do this presents a sales opportunity you may not have had before — plus customers will appreciate the prompt, proactive approach.
It's not rocket science — you're more likely to make a sale by actually speaking with the customer. With other roadblocks that get in the way of making a deal, don't let the lack of connecting with a customer be one of those reasons. Make the most out of the phone with these strategies so your connection rate rises to unprecedented levels!
If you'd like to see more trends uncovered in our 2021 data study, check it out here!