Will Someone Please Answer the Phone?! Handling Inbound Phone Calls at Your Dealership

How many times have you heard this in the service department each day? If you are saying this on the dealership side then it means that the callers are also saying it on their side, which cannot be good.

Dealers often spend thousands of dollars per month marketing to their customers in an attempt to motivate them to call the dealership. Yet they struggle with answering the phone when those customers do call. Nothing can frustrate a caller more than being put on hold or having to leave a message when they are trying to spend money.

How does missing phone calls affect your dealership’s bottom line?
It could cost you up to $150,000 annually!

Ask yourself this, “How many calls to your service department each day are missed or mishandled that could have resulted in a service appointment and RO revenue?” Most dealers will say somewhere between 5 and 10 calls are missed for whatever reason each day. Let’s assume that only 3 calls per day are missed or mishandled that could have resulted in an RO. Using your own metrics, what would missing three RO’s per day mean to you? Better yet, what would 3 additional RO’s per day mean to your bottom line?

Let’s assume that your service department is open 6 days per week, average RO revenue value with parts and labor totals $225.00 and your Gross Profit percentage is 70%.

3 RO’s x 6 days = 18 weekly x 52 weeks = 936 RO’s @ $225.00 average each = $210,600 x 70% GP = $147,000 in your pocket.

If you expect the phones to ring make sure that you have the processes in place to effectively handle the callers. With the economy the way it is, dealers have reduced head count to stay profitable. That means fewer employees available to answer the phone which often forces the decision to either ignore the callers or the customers standing in the service drive. Which one is more important? Of course they are both very important and need to be handled promptly.

One solution dealers find attractive is contracting with companies that provide 24/7 inbound call “backstopping” services to answer the calls that are not being answered in a timely manner. These companies will perform as if they are employees of the dealership and will set service or sales appointments, transfer calls, or take messages. This service insures that no call is missed and that all calls are handled properly.

Finally… someone is answering that phone!

~ Gary Mitchell
Director, Telephony & Virtual BDC Products, DMEautomotive

Gary has 25 years of experience in providing franchised auto dealers with marketing and technology solutions designed to increase revenue and overall profitability. Gary has held national positions with ADP Dealer Services, LML Technologies, and DMEautomotive. He is currently responsible for researching and designing new products and marketing campaigns based on industry trends and specific dealership needs. He directly interfaces with Development and Product Management to monitor market needs and requirements, taking into account emerging technologies, competitor products / services, industry trends, and regulatory / complian
ce changes for both OEM and regulatory bodies. LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/garymitchellauto

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