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Phone calls are on the rise to both Sales and Service departments– but the average dealer only converts a little over 30% of their inbound Service leads to appointments, leaving up to 70% of those leads for their competitors.
It’s difficult to calculate how much revenue your Fixed Ops department is actually missing out on, but it’s a good bet that one of your nearest competitors is reaping the benefits of your loss.
Effective call handling can increase conversion rates from an average of 30% up to 90%, meaning your dealership’s Fixed Ops department could be generating three times as much business without increasing its marketing spend.
We recently fielded a study on how dealers nationwide handle inbound Service calls and were able to pinpoint the most important phone skills that help service departments set appointments. This is the largest study we’re aware of that looked primarily at incoming Service Department calls. We analyzed data across 2,464 phone calls and reviewed 21 common call handler behaviors to determine which ones are crucial to converting inbound leads into appointments. There are six key behaviors that, when successfully used, improve call-to-appointment conversion ratios from as low as 11% to as high as 90%.
One of the most startling pieces of data in the study is that nearly 1/3 of the Service Department calls analyzed did not take advantage of these critical tactics for converting calls to leads – and these are not mysterious tactics, some of them are downright obvious. So, here is an opportunity to do your own analysis and ensure that your team utilizes the most important basic steps to converting a call to a service appointment. Here they are:
Six Crucial Steps for Service Appointment Setting Success
1. Ask the caller “How May I Help You?” – This obvious question was only asked 64% of the time on the analyzed calls.
2. Establish if caller is a repeat customer – Recognizing valuable repeat customers is good for business and saves time on the call yet this only occurred 62% of the time.
3. Identify the vehicle needing service – Crucial in maintaining control of the call and guiding it toward an appointment yet call handlers did this only 69% of the time.
4. Obtain caller’s full name – Getting the customer’s first name helps build rapport while the last name is important for accurate record keeping but this only occurred in two-thirds of calls studied.
5. Ask about caller’s additional questions/concerns –This shows callers that their concerns are taken seriously, and it’s an effective way to identify upsell opportunities. Only 6% of the calls studied included this crucial step.
6. Determine caller’s timeframe for service needs – This is the best way to get callers to commit to an appointment but only 65% of call handlers did this on calls analyzed.