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From: Jared Hamilton
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3 Tips to Increase Service Appointment-Setting at Your Dealership

What is your service department’s appointment conversion rate?

If you didn’t already know, your Service Department is becoming increasingly important to your business. Calls to Fixed Ops have been steadily increasing year over year - just take a look at CallSource and NADA’s data that illustrates this.

It is obvious that to have the most phone calls answered and followed up with properly and with the right skill set, a Business Development Center (BDC) is required at your dealership.

But what if a BDC isn’t in the budget right now, or you’re having a difficult time hiring qualified help? Here are some tips to get you through this time until you can dedicate money and training time to having a full-on BDC at your dealership for your Service Department.

1. Move Your Receptionist’s Desk to the Service Department Area

Not only does the Service Department receive numerous inbound calls – but many of these calls also go unanswered. Not that I need to point it out to you, but this is counter-intuitive to your dealership’s success.

How do you solve this issue when your service advisors may be too busy to answer the phone?

One resolution is to move your receptionist back to the Service Department. Why? Well, with the receptionist back in the Service area, he or she can see the action around them and can see if the service advisor or manager is free or busy. This way, they can avoid instances where a transfer occurs, and no one is there to answer, leaving the caller to reach a voicemail that may not get returned.

2. Give Inbound Phone Handlers Service Appointment Scheduling Ability

Do your receptionists or inbound call takers have access to scheduling Service appointments? If not, you may want to reconsider.

Give your call takers the ability to schedule Service appointments - this way, your service advisor only has to take the calls that could generate revenue.

3. Train Your Service Department on Phone Skills

Maybe you have no choice but to have your service advisors answer inbound phone calls to set appointments. While it is not the worst thing ever (at least someone is answering the phone), keep in mind that data shows that 66% of service advisors fail to ask the customer for an appointment.

Make sure to change that statistic in your dealership!

By taking some time out of their schedule to make sure they are properly trained on inbound call techniques, you are guaranteed to increase some of their skills to ensure they are more equipped to set an appointment.

Make a loose call script for them to follow, or outlines important questions and place them near the phone as a reminder. If your service advisors are needed to answer calls, make sure they are doing so correctly!

Chris K Leslie

Great tips. 

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