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Jon Berna

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The Inbound Call Pre-snap Read

It’s the third down with 12 yards to go and, after the quarterback relays the play from the offensive coordinator to the team in the huddle, everyone gets into formation. As the play clock ticks down, the quarterback identifies the defense shift into a blitz formation. He signals the receivers and offensive line to make the required adjustments for their individual routes and protection assignments. He turns to the tailback and lets him know his blocking assignment. With everything set and ready he approaches the center hikes the ball, drops back and hits an open receiver for an easy completion and a nice gain for a first down, not to mention making this entire process look relatively effortless to the casual observer.

The pre-snap read and audible in football is one of the ultimate expressions of teamwork under pressure in all of sports. As fans, we typically applaud the individual, almost instinctive decision the quarterback made — not the effort that went into being able to make the decision. The pre-snap read was the effort of hundreds of hours of film study, coaching and overall preparation by the entire offense. By knowing the play the defense was running, the offense has the advantage, but this opportunity can only be seized if the entire system works together.

Luckily for dealerships we, too, have many opportunities to have an advantage.

However, before I identify these advantages, please understand your customers are not the competition. Your competition is the level of preparation, training and execution of the other dealers with whom your potential customers are also communicating.

Your dealership is receiving calls from a vast array of sources for new vehicles, used vehicles, marketing campaigns and voicemail returns. How can you organize them to go to the right person at the right time so you can diagnose the situation correctly? Before I answer that, you must first understand what “one-call resolution” truly means. It means stop transferring calls, stop paging and stop making people wait. The person who answers the initial phone call must be the best “available” person to handle anything that may surface on the call.  This core value requires a combination of training and technology.

With customer expectations at an all-time high, you need to separate yourselves from the pack by making your dealership’s customer service look effortless. All things being equal, an organization where customers are routed to the right person faster will enjoy higher conversions than one where the customers have to wait — where calls are paged, transferred and put on hold.

Four Areas to Maximize Your Advantages

1. Marketing Call Tracking — For a single dealership, you should have well over 50 toll-free tracking numbers in use. Each source must have unique ad source assignments. This step is initially a challenge, but if setup correctly, it’s one of the single best ways you can improve your marketing business intelligence. It is also essential for the inbound call pre-snap read.

2. Phone System Call Routing and Skill-Based Logic — Calls can route to the correct person based on logic through an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) phone system. The technology evaluates the source and/or location, then determines who has the highest skill level to handle that type of call who is in an “available” status. By segmenting the calls, the highest performers can receive more calls, the most important calls and the return calls from the voicemails they left previously. In skill-based routing, for example, a rep can be certified to handle specific new or used car questions. Since agents will receive the same type of calls every day, they become increasingly better at their individual focus.

3. Advanced Caller ID and CRM Integration — Thanks to advanced caller ID from a modern ACD phone system, your BDC reps know the advertising source, location, department and the customer’s caller ID information, as well as the previous call history of the customer all before they answer. They can now give a custom response based on each call situation. The BDC rep doesn’t need to ask the source during the call. All the rep needs to add is the additional contact information, appointment and notes. Call logging can now reach nearly 100 percent.

4. Phone Call Handling — Ultimately, your employees need to be trained on how to handle each situation that may come up on their calls. You can prepare for this by categorizing and scoring a sample of your calls. Build an ongoing report of the most common initial questions customers ask, as well as the questions that lead to the wrong call result, whether it be a hang up or no appointment. You should also set up your phone system to dynamically change the phone scripts based on the type of customer and source. Again, this is possible with most modern ACD phone systems.

Jon Berna
Driven Data Consulting

 

 

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