Monitor and own the telephone experience

Monitor and own the telephone experience

An interview with Stuart Buckley in December 2017 issue of Auto Retail Bulletin.

Monitor and own the telephone experience

Something that seems to get forgotten all too often is that the leads we work so hard to generate are all actual people, and most of them have a short attention span and fuse when it comes to picking up the phone and contacting your dealership.

They will have spent hours on the sofa on their tablet or laptop doing research, and the call they are making to you might not be the only one they are making. If you don’t get them to speak to someone that can help and quickly, they will get upset. When they get upset, they can go onto Google My Business, Twitter, Facebook and others, where they start complaining and leaving bad reviews.

If someone has done something to earn that negative review then that is bad enough, but if it is down to something that isn’t your fault then that is even harder to take.

Recently, I spoke to a customer of ours who works with multi-franchise brands. One of the manufacturers they work with had updated the phone numbers on the site. This client had invested in contact centres, which were supposed to ensure that all calls went to the appropriate place, but the manufacturer changing the numbers meant that all the calls went straight back into the dealership.

As a motor trade retailer, you want to give the best experience and get the calls going into the right place. When someone comes along and makes a change it can give the customer a really bad experience.

What this means is that you need to own your call routine – look at your call sources and durations on a regular basis. The Calltracks dashboard has a simple system that shows a green arrow if there have been more calls, or a red one if there have been fewer. An average call length, meanwhile, is around three minutes. If this drops to, say, 30 seconds, then there is something wrong.

The same can be said if it goes up to six minutes. If you are seeing a significant change to anything at all then test the number concerned. Simply dial the number yourself and see where the call goes and what the experience is like.

The majority of our customers have different numbers set up in different places, and they route to different places. The number that appears on Google will often go to central reception or an interactive voice response system with different options, whereas sales calls may go directly to a sales telephone team. If you label your numbers ‘sales’, ‘service’ and ‘parts’, dumping all of the calls into reception, and you then ask which department the caller wants, that caller is going to be miffed.

Motor groups have invested, across the board, a lot of money creating business contact centres, which is great. But unless you monitor and own that experience it can be completely scuttled. If someone else goes and changes an advertised number, all your hard work goes out the window.

Check your call volumes and durations on a weekly basis and put yourself in the mind of the customer and think about what you would expect to happen if you were calling a particular number. Then call that number and see if it is as you expect. If you have a way that calls should be handled, and that isn’t happening, then it is so easy to change it especially when you know about it first hand.