How To Stop Leaking & Missing Your Phone Calls

Would you believe, most dealerships are ‘burning’ at least half of the phone calls they receive from ready-to-buy customers. As I write this I worry you won’t believe it, but we have the data to back it up …IT IS REAL… These customers want to hand over their money but holes in your systems are throwing the leads away.


How To Stop Leaking & Missing Your Phone Calls

Dealers do not see the real size of the problem as it can take up to 24 hours for a lead to make it into the CRM. What happens to all the lost, fumbled, or missed leads in that critical first 24 hours? They could be lost forever but surely it makes more sense to fix the holes and grab the extra sales if you can!

The simple reality is that many dealers are too busy to answer the important phone calls, or staff are giving poor information.  It is a basic, basic problem, that is easy to fix.

By the time your customer calls you they have been researching and searching for 3 months.  They have had 900 digital touchpoints according to google (71% of them on their mobile) and by the time they want to speak to you, they are TIRED, FRUSTRATED, EXCITED and getting IMPATIENT TOO.

They want to get the search finished.  When they pick up the phone they want an answer, and they want it now. They will not give you a second chance – they will start their search again if you mishandle the situation.

Your customers prefer to use the phone. Most of their search has been on mobile and a recent Deloitte study shows that 75% want to interact with a real person to ask questions at important stages in the buying process.  65% prefer to use the phone, and 71% expect to get support in less than 3 minutes. Customers are 3x more inclined to pick up the phone than complete an enquiry form, email, or chat, so the phone really is the number 1 communication channel. The phone really matters.

The sad fact is that 25% of calls get an inadequate reply (being told its sold when there are 4 others in group stock), 50% of calls are not answered or called back.  Only 1 in 4 calls get a good answer. Half the calls are not answered and only 15% of customers will call you back. Calls returned within 5 minutes are 21 times more likely to convert. Speed and accuracy are vital but there is a massive amount of basic room for improvement.

Think about the calls you receive and how you manage them. Are all the calls equally valuable? Do all your calls get routed via a switchboard or recorded IVR system?  Make sure the important sales calls get handled quickly.

Our 6 point action plan should help you make some improvements.

What happens to all the call?

Try your own phone audit first and see how your business performs.

1               Look at what calls go where?

A lot of businesses have department phone numbers and then route all calls through a switchboard or IVR. This is really annoying for the customer who has bothered to find the right number to call and it wastes a lot of time. Check what happens in your business and make sure the important sales calls are given the red carpet treatment. Listen out for recorded messages and adverts – are these really helping?

2               Call your business and see what happens.

Act as a customer and call your business. See what happens at quiet times and busy times of the day, and busy times of the week too. Remember, 85% of customers will not call you back. What systems do you have in place to pick up all the lost and missed calls? Also, think about how your team handle the calls they answer. 25% of callers are given wrong or misleading information (like the car is sold when there are 4 others in stock). 84% of communication is non-verbal – it is not just what you say but how you say it. The wrong tone of voice can make customers feel unwelcome and kill a sale straight away.

3               Check your data.

Your ‘answered calls’ data is just recording the tip of the iceberg so the data is misleading, very misleading.  Track all the short calls that don’t get answered. Track the time taken to call a customer back and track how many times a lead is called before the salesman gives up.  Calls returned quickly are more likely to convert but it can take up to 8 attempts to reach someone. While speed is critical your salesmen need to be persistent.

4               Send non-sales calls somewhere else.

Just focus on the calls that are going to make you money.

Reduce the volume of calls managed by switchboard (or sales) so that they all get the red carpet treatment. Make sure the other calls get connected directly to the department they want.

5               Set standards.

Start with a minimum standard and improve from there.  Set your KPI’s and monitor them. Make sure you review the data each week and focus on making simple improvements.  Keep making your own mystery phone calls and share the data with the team.

6               Phone matters.

Your phones really matter so make sure you don’t take them for granted and don’t assume all your staff will have a good phone manner.  Train, motivate and praise your staff. Make it easy for them to improve and excel. Find out where the problems are and work with your staff to solve them.   Maybe some simple scripts will help to give confidence and keep the calls on track.

Look around your business and see where you can optimise for the phone. Your customers want to use the phone so don’t try to make it hard for customers but easy on your team.  Check that the phone numbers you are using are connected properly. Google places is important. Also, think about your website calls for action.  If you are not showing a phone number that is probably a big mistake.

Next step:

You might now want some specialist help to move things up to the next level.

We have a wide range of solutions for contact centres and dealerships including inbound and outbound call recording, real-time reporting, and our dropped lead alert system.

Give one of our specialists a call and we can help you to stop missing your calls.