A few weeks ago, I was training a ten-store team while facilitating some very ground-breaking and paradigm-shifting conversations about the phone. The Director of Operations preached to a team of new hires—some thoughts most dealers have become all too familiar with:
“We’ve been flying by the seat of our pants too long,” said the director to the newbies.
“Pick up the phone, find out what they want and we’ll call them back.”
“Go out and greet those customers, tell them this, tell them that, take them for a test drive and then bring them to me.”
“That has been the extent of our training”
What I realized is, the “fifth-generation” salesman still has had little to no formal training, especially on the phone. Let’s face it, for an understaffed store, training can be downright cumbersome—the dealership can be one of the most chaotic workplaces on Earth. When it comes to answering the phones or responding to an internet inquiry, we seem to cling to the comfort of our old bad habits. Then the fancy advertising online, facility upgrades and the showroom shine, are simply nothing more than lipstick on a pig…so to speak.
So you’re a five-star elite presidents club dealer, with a 50 million dollar facility paired with 1.21 gigawatts of Wi-Fi in your customer lounge…and you can change oil in 15 seconds or less! Yet when it comes to answering the phones and responding to internet leads, you’re in the Stone Age. Customers have put “tire kicking” out to pasture and now use smartphones and tablets to measure your dealership from a distance and find the quickest way to cross it off their list.
So how do you get ruled-in?
Enter the modern-day Business Development Center (BDC).
This is the hub of pre and post visit customer satisfaction. This is the appointment generator—staffed by well-educated, well-armed, battle-tested specialists…the Navy Seals of the phone and internet. Or so you hope. Often, BDC’s live and die by the same philosophies which have tortured our customer service for years. The “fly by the seat of your pants” culture must stop at the door of your BDC.
Here are the top ten ways to provide Tier One customer service in your BDC:
Track everything on the phone and internet, know your reporting and live by it
Train your staff early and train often
Invest in a good CRM and use its features—integrate all of your technology
Staff adequately to cover your leads and follow-up
Get on the phone with customers before your competition does
Build your processes around the feedback you receive from the front lines
Align the BDC with the showroom staff (some BDC reps have never met the people who handle their customers!)
Develop a mission/benefit statement and brand yourself in all customer interactions, make sure everyone knows why they should buy from you!
Build a culture around doing what is right for the customer
Hold daily “save a deal” themed meetings to capitalized on missed opportunities, inspect lead action, and set the expectation for your team
Customers are sophisticated, technologically armed, low on patience, and a click away from gone. Here’s what the 5th-gen consumers don’t want: long hold times; uneducated and disinterested staff; beat-around-the-bush sales people; automated, impersonal emails that tell them…nothing; bad websites and bad, bad attitudes.
What are you doing to provide world class customer service?
Cory Wright is the Director of Training at CallRevu. For more of Cory's great intel, access our library of on-demand training videos. It's free and available to all who want to improve on the phones.