If you have been in the business a while, you have probably talked about the importance of customer phone calls. It’s a vital element in the customer journey and a critical touchpoint for your business. Even so, it often seems that stomach medicine and listening to sales calls often go hand in hand –both seem to create a nauseating situation. For many, it seems that developing a strategy for inbound calls is an uphill battle that gets fought but never won.
The biggest cause of avoidance when it comes to analyzing and improving customer calls is a general lack of time and understanding. Finding the time to listen to calls is tough when you are running a department or your own store. There are too many pressing items on your to-do list and adding in something as time-consuming as monitoring phone calls seems impossible. To try and quantify what you are hearing and determine if you are improving ROI from your efforts becomes insurmountable.
You’ll need a tool to help, but you’ll also need to know what success looks like before you begin. Here are some methods to help you get started or to up your game if you are already headed down the right path.
The goal for inbound calls is simple: Help your customer find you, get to know you, trust you, and ultimately spend money with you. There is a roadmap to phone sales, just as there is with showroom visits. Find out how you can improve.
Look at the total calls to each department. What percentage of calls were connected to someone? How many calls were routed to the right place? For unconnected calls, what is preventing the connection? The average store connects only 62% of calls.
Of the customers that connected, how often were customers asked to set an appointment? You can’t expect a higher rate of appointments if you don’t ask for it. The average store only offers appointments 60% of the time.
Of those that we asked to set an appointment, what percentage of those calls actually resulted in a set appointment? An appointment should only be counted if it is real. If a customer says they will be in at some point on Saturday, that is a soft appointment. Better than nothing, but not by much. The goal is to set a firm appointment. If you can measure both soft and firm appointments, that is a big win. If you cannot, only count firm appointments, which are those with a specific date and time
and a clear understanding that they will be there and a dedicated appointment slot. When you ask for an appointment, the average store sets appointments 75% of the time.
Appointment show rate
Simple enough, did they show up for their appointment or not? If they are late, that still counts as a firm appointment. If a person shows up for an appointment on the wrong day, you have to question if the problem originated with the product or the effectiveness of the call handling. Despite their best intentions, the average caller only shows to confirmed appointments 65% of the time. This drops to 48% when appointments are not confirmed by a member of the dealership.
This is why you are here. Connecting sales back to a phone call is powerful and this metric gets the attention of every member of a sales department (service is a sales org too). If the dealership is prepared for their visit, appointments that show will close at a rate of 80%. If the car is not pulled up and ready, or the person they are scheduled to meet is not ready and informed of the customer’s expectations this number can drop dramatically to 35%.
Each store and employees will experience varying rates of success at each of these stages. Understanding your metrics can boost your average store from a 14% close rate of department calls to 20% just by increasing your call connection rate to 85% – without changing call process, call handling, or employee training…simply by doing everything the same as you are now. If your store is getting just 10 sales calls a day (which is indicative of a very low-volume store) that is 15 more sales a month. Imagine the success you would experience if you improved all of these areas.