YOUR CHANCE TO CONNECT EVERY CALL COUNTS The best customer service providers answer the phone with a representative who can help the caller. While not all dealers can afford this type of BDC environment, all dealers must employ a BDC-like culture. This culture starts with a dedication to the phone process, which means the answering process must only answer and route phone calls to the appropriate party. We’ve found that 99 percent of non-BDC dealerships live answer and then immediately transfer — this is not better than a phone tree (or IVR) routing calls. While customer sentiment is elevated by live answer, it declines upon being transferred; a phone tree, however, can only lift sentiment. Consider your phone tree. Our short-term memories do best with four or fewer options — accordingly, phone trees with more than four options experience 53 percent higher connection failure rates. Not surprisingly, most calls are for service, so fight the temptation to put the “sales” option first. We are in the customer service business, not the sales business. Also, conclude your greeting with “For customer service, press X.” Live answer, whether in place of or after a phone tree, has a key benefit: we hear how customers ask their question. Callers ask for, in order of occurrence, people, departments and services. How our customers ask is critical to our success: • People — This caller type clearly has a relationship with your dealership and the individual they are asking for. Still, they are not working with your employee on a mobile-to-mobile level. We want mobile-to-mobile relationships because it’s a more intimate, satisfying relationship. There is inherent trust in mobile-to-mobile. Callers asking for an employee by name are close customers, and that’s why they leave voicemails at the higher rate of 60 percent • Department — Approximately 80 percent of these callers have a relationship with your store and have learned the calling process. They ask for a department, then ask for a person • Service (Vehicle) — “Hi I’m calling about a Malibu I see on your website….” This is a clear signal that this caller has no relationship with your dealership. This is the moment of truth, where your first impression is happening! All indicators are that this caller needs special attention. Hold times are higher and voicemails left are much lower at 33 percent Today, 25 percent of your callers hang up on hold in less than 30 seconds. Most are those who asked for an employee by name and hang up with the intention of calling them on their mobile phone. Callers asking about a car or a service leave voicemails at a lower rate, which supports the process of logging that information while staying with these callers. Voicemail best practices are straight forward. The biggest issue is extensions that ring straight to voicemail boxes that are full. The voicemail greeting is surprisingly not important. Personalized or generic, callers leave voicemails and hang up at the same rate.