Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 36

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

BAD
CONNECTION
Dropped customer calls costing your shop? Help is on the way



T

ALEX KWANTEN
foj@autonews.com

wo of every three customer calls to
the typical dealership are for service and parts. Of those calls, two new
studies suggest, one-fifth to one-third
don't get connected to the right person.
That number includes callers who hang up
in frustration when they get lost in voicemail
or are put on hold for a long time. Even when
calls reach the service department, analysts
estimate that fewer than half lead to appointments.
As the volume of phone calls to dealerships
increases by about 12 percent a year, service
departments could be losing a lot of potential
business.
The studies propose ways to cut down on
dropped calls, and to better handle those that
get through.
Matt Muilenburg, head of automotive at
Marchex, a call analytics company in Seattle,
says a new report by his company suggests
two steps dealerships can take to improve the
odds that service-related customer calls connect: avoid voicemail and simplify the computer-based interactive voice response, or
IVR, systems that callers often encounter
("press 1 for ... ").
"If an IVR has more than three options,
there's a spike in the number of people who
drop the call," Muilenburg told Fixed Ops Journal. "And around half the time people are sent
to voicemail, they don't leave a message."
ELEAD1ONE, a software provider in Valdosta, Ga., operates call centers for more than
7,000 dealerships. It logged nearly 9 million
inbound calls for service last year, up from 1.8
million in 2011.
Bill Wittenmyer, an ELEAD1ONE partner,
says larger call volumes measured by the
company in its study began with "click to call"
- the rapid switch by customers from landline phones to cellphones and other mobile
devices. They also may reflect the increased
number of vehicle recalls in recent years, Wittenmyer says.

Adviser training
Better technology isn't the only way dealerships can improve their phone call results.

PAGE 36

DECEMBER 2017

Who's calling?

Analysts offer these tips to ensure
that customer calls to a dealership
service department are completed.
 Answer calls within 20 seconds.
 Place customers on hold for no more
than 30 seconds.
 Don't rely on voicemail; half of
customers won't leave a message.
 Don't make customers go through
more than 3 "press 1" steps before
connecting them with a person.
 Answer customers' questions before
asking them for contact information.
 Call your shop and time how long it
takes to speak to a person.

The studies also suggest that service advisers
must be more proactive about returning calls
and applying their knowledge of vehicles to
answering questions in ways customers can
understand.
Florida-based Morgan Auto Group, which
operates 23 dealerships, has concluded a twoyear customer relations program for its service

David Linville is a service adviser at Honda
of Gainesville (Fla.), which trained service
employees to improve their phone skills.

advisers, conducted by Dale Carnegie Training.
The goal of the instruction, says Tom Moore,
senior vice president of the Morgan group,
was to improve advisers' phone skills. He says
the training has contributed to 6 percent
growth in repair orders at the company's dealerships in the past two years.
Tom Stuker, head of Stuker Training, a
phone skills training company in Bay City,
Mich., says service advisers and managers
"are not necessarily 'naturals' on the phone."
"Generally, they have a tendency to hurry
calls, and take calls while completing other
tasks, causing them to be preoccupied,"
Stuker says.
Designating a dealership employee to coordinate service appointments, he adds, "will
always improve consistency and service."

Holds barred
Many dealerships direct customer calls to a
business development center, either on-site
see CALLS, Page 37



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017

Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Contents
Editor’s Letter
Service Counter
Legal Lane
Big verdict
Ho-ho-ho
Battery charge
Price is right
Tomorrow’s techs
Selling accessories
SEMA dreams
To the rescue
Profit Builder
Richard Truett
On the line
Letters
Real time
Feedback
After hours
Efficiency expert
Longer lasting
Shop Talk
Five Minutes With
Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover2
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Editor’s Letter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 5
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Service Counter
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 7
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Legal Lane
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Big verdict
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 10
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 11
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Ho-ho-ho
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 13
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Battery charge
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 15
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 16
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 17
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 18
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 19
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 20
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 21
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Price is right
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 23
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Tomorrow’s techs
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 25
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 26
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 27
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Selling accessories
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 29
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - SEMA dreams
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 31
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - To the rescue
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 33
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Profit Builder
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Richard Truett
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - On the line
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Letters
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Real time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - 39
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Feedback
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - After hours
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Efficiency expert
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Longer lasting
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Shop Talk
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Five Minutes With
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Fixed in Time
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover3
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2017 - Cover4
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