You know you should take time to listen to and monitor inbound calls, but when you do it is frustrating. Calls are missed, people are not connected, and customers are lost. You obviously don’t want that since it costs you sales with people who are reaching out to your dealership.
There are plenty of reasons why a phone call might not make it all the way through to you, but the four common ones are easily preventable. I call them the abandoned group. Unanswered phone calls, IVR voicemail abandons, ring transfer abandons, and hold time abandons are problems that plague many dealerships, yet they have simple answers.
Everyone knows how frustrating it is to call a company and have it unanswered; it leaves a bad taste in your mouth when they seemingly ignore you. Now imagine losing your customers to that same feeling.
Check these things first. Make sure that your online listings have the correct number linked to them; this includes things like your Facebook pages and your Google My Business page.
Next, double check that your phone extensions are set up correctly. This is an easy fix that can potentially cost you thousands of dollars in missed sales. Also, make sure that your phone system can handle all the calls that you’re receiving. If it happens to be a busy hour, you don’t want your customers stranded with no way of getting in touch with you.
2. IVR Voicemail Abandon
While IVR (interactive voice response) voicemails are a huge help, don’t make them so complex that you’re losing customers over lengthy menus. You should have 4 options or less in the initial menu, and your customers shouldn’t be listening to a voice speak for over 30 seconds.
When customers finally make it to your team, make sure they’re in the right place. Don’t have a confusing menu that sends the wrong people to your sales representatives; this just annoys everybody.
Also, try to get your IVR voicemail to take messages for the intended recipient if they’re not there. Sometimes you can’t get around an employee on vacation, so it’s important to try and keep the customer from leaving without any words.
3. Ring Transfer Abandon
As a general rule of thumb with ring transfers, make sure they’re all warm transfers. A warm transfer lets you speak to whomever you’re transferring a call to ahead of time, letting you know if the person is available. It saves your customers from getting frustrated with voicemails and gives them a better impression of how connected your dealership is.
It’s a good practice to get a call back number from a customer in case the call drops as well. This can be a 30-second confirmation of the number they’re calling from at the beginning of a call. Also, take a written message in case you can’t help a customer and they have to be transferred to someone who is out of the office.
Answering phone calls as soon as possible is important, so make a rule about how soon to answer. Generally, you don’t want your phone to ring more than 3 times. This also applies to how long a customer is on hold. Make sure you’re checking back in with them after every 3 rings.
4. Hold Time Abandon
It’s no surprise that a customer will hang up after being on hold for minutes on end. The simple and most effective way to stop people from hanging up while they’re waiting is to hire more staff. It’s going to cost you money during busy seasons, but it’s well worth it when you’re selling more cars and retaining happier, and more loyal, customers.
If you can’t bite the bullet and hire more people, there are still a few processes that you can put into place. Again, make sure that you’re checking in with the customers on hold at regular intervals. While you’re checking in on them, always offer to take a message and call back!
On that note, make sure that you’re offering to call everyone back, especially if they’re getting impatient. You can always transfer customers to available people as well, or set up an automatic transfer to happen after a certain amount of time someone’s on hold.