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Considering that 44 percent of inbound service calls are leads, can you afford not to answer your calls? If you don’t have the staff to answer calls correctly, consider using a BDC or hiring part-time help.

by CallRevu

People are holding onto their cars for longer, and older cars need more service. As a consequence, service departments are busier than ever. CallRevu data shows that there has been a 15 percent month-over-month activity increase at the service level in the last year.

While keeping bays full and generating ROs is nice, the real value from service customers lies in long-term customer-pay potential and the increased likelihood that loyal customers will become sales prospects.

As the inventory supply crunch resolves, think about the pent-up demand for new vehicles among service customers with vehicles over five years old. To maximize every possible sales opportunity, dealers need to ensure these customers experience high satisfaction in the service department. Unhappy service customers are unlikely to purchase a vehicle from your dealership.

Most dealerships have no problems delivering a satisfactory experience once customers drive into the service lane. However, that moment is only one customer interaction with your service department. The first interaction is when a customer calls to make a service appointment or ask questions about your service. After a customer leaves their vehicle in for service, other interactions occur when they call back to find out the status.

So, a substantial piece of customer service experience relies on your dealership’s call management performance. Are customer phone calls getting answered promptly? Are their needs being taken care of during the first phone interaction? Unfortunately, in this area, many dealerships fall short in their attempts to deliver an optimal customer experience.

Follow these tips to ensure that every service customer has a five-star interaction with your dealership.

Don’t leave low-hanging fruit

Inbound service calls are low-hanging fruit. Yet, the NUMBER ONE complaint from customers is that phone calls are not being answered. In fact, CallRevu data recently found that 42 percent of inbound service calls are never answered.

Considering that 44 percent of inbound service calls are leads, can you afford not to answer your calls? If you don’t have the staff to answer calls correctly, consider using a BDC or hiring part-time help.

Avoid transferring and putting on hold

The second most common complaint we hear from customers is when they get transferred or put on hold. Nothing is more annoying for a customer with a simple question than being transferred to a voicemailbox.

Additional resources and/or staff training might be required to avoid these scenarios. The person answering the phone needs to know the right contact for different questions. An internal messaging system is highly recommended, so it’s easy to find and connect with the appropriate person.

If a customer wants to make an appointment, the person answering the phone should have access to the scheduling app. In some dealerships, service advisors prefer to schedule their own appointments, but this practice is not in the customers’‚ or dealership’s‚ best interest.

Take care of customers the first time

Did you know that 30 percent of inbound service calls are actually repeated calls? This means that nearly one-third of your customers are not getting questions answered on the first call.

One way to reduce overall call volume, and take better care of customers, is to establish best practices that include an incentive for employees to resolve all customer issues on the first call.

Be transparent

The person answering phones should be able to give out price quotes for standard jobs. Customers do not like it when told they can’t get a price quote unless they bring their vehicle in to have a service advisor look at it.

Reluctance to give a quote is understandable if the customer doesn’t know what is wrong with the vehicle. However, you can always provide estimates with qualifiers attached.

If the customer asks for a specific repair price, such as “How much to replace the brake pads and rotors” give the price over the phone. Your customers’ time is valuable, and they will always choose to do business with a company that respects their time.

Analyze call summaries

Artificial intelligence can help managers identify specific problem areas in call management. Use a tool designed to analyze customer sentiment on the phone and separate calls into categories.

There is no real need to review calls that went well. However, suppose a particular employee’s phone etiquette needs improving, or a gap in phone coverage exists. In that case, an artificial intelligence tool can identify the issue so that managers can resolve the problem quickly.

Service departments may be busy regardless of how customers are treated, but that is no reason to deliver a less-than-stellar customer experience. A happy service customer today is easily turned into a happy sales customer tomorrow. The key to providing a satisfactory experience is to take care of the customers’ needs at every point of contact, including all phone interactions.

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