PREPARING YOUR PEOPLE HANDLING THE CALL What happens if we spend money training our people and then they leave? A better question is, what happens if we don’t and they stay ? This question gets at the core of your beliefs about developing people. Dedication to the phone means a dedication to training the right people. Prospects calling your dealership are often low-funnel buyers; they’re ready to do business with you, but have questions they need answered before visiting your store. Ensuring their call is handled by knowledgeable, friendly and — above all — helpful employees dramatically increases the chances of setting that appointment. In fact, our industry call study reports that when dealership employees answer all the caller’s questions completely and transparently, the caller asks for the appointment 57 percent of the time. Processes Should Make People Shine – You’ve now got your phone processes in place and you’re ready to go, right? Not so fast. Processes should be customer centric and employee focused. For example, don’t assume you’re improving the experience for your customer by offering to confirm a vehicle is in stock and gather their name and phone number to call them back. True, some popular vehicles do move fast, especially on a Saturday, but if the employee isn’t being honest or is poorly trained, you’re not helping your customer experience — you’re diminishing it. People Respond to People, Not Robots – Instead of sticking to a script and sounding like a robot, simply talk to the customer. Start at the beginning, rather than looking at callers as opportunities to store in your system, consider greeting them like you would a guest in your home. “Whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?” Not because I want to put you in my CRM, but because it’s polite and the start of a natural conversation. You’ll still receive the caller’s contact information, but as a byproduct of having a dialogue rather than a rigid process. The Caller’s Best Friend – Customers want to make a major purchase from a person , not a store. People create experiences that drive customer trust and loyalty. Looking for opportunities to connect with customers, rather than sell to them, creates an emotional connection and establishes a foundation for long-term success. Caller sentiment is highest when employees display these types of behaviors: • Makes a personal connection • Uses the caller’s name informally and conversationally • Asks why that car caught their attention • Offers their opinion to a caller who is undecided or unfamiliar • Asks if features are right based on the caller’s needs and preferences Car buying and servicing are significant events and, if employees act as trusted partners, they’ll win customer’s hearts — even if they wind up buying from another dealership. They’ll remember the impression you left for the future.