CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
Does your dealership have a call monitoring solution in place? Does your dealership consistently train phone skills? Chances are if the dealership has a large advertising budget and a proper setup for a BDC the answer is "yes". However, it is mind blowing to see how many dealerships in 2013 still do not pay attention to call monitoring. I look at websites and see local phone numbers. Even worse I see dealers doing traditional advertising and still using local phone numbers. I later talk to these dealers and they complain that they do not get enough phone calls coming in or they are not making enough appointments. I ask them if they have a call monitoring solution and all I get told is that they just have what AutoTrader and Cars.com give them in their backend tools. I am not going to get into the importance of content and optimized websites to convert more lead opportunities. I will get into the importance of call monitoring. Every business needs to have a call monitoring tool. Every business needs to have management listen to phone calls for quality control, training, and measurement of quality of advertising. I spoke about this topic at the Internet Sales 20 Group in October of 2012 as well as conducted a webinar for KPA about 8 months ago on this topic. It can be viewed here: Call Monitoring - Stan Sher (Dealer eTraining) Now here are some best practices: 1. If the dealership has a large ad budget and a very large call volume they need to hire a call monitoring company that will listen to the calls in real time and send alerts to inform managers rights away of any profit leaks. I know of many companies that provide this service. While it might be a $1500-2500 monthly investment there is a potential for an ROI of $30,000 or more when used properly. 2. Every single day a manager (BDC or Sales) needs to sit down and review reporting of all calls from the previous day and listen to 9 calls (3 morning, 3 afternoon, 3 evening). This will give an idea of what was done right and what needs training. 3. Take the good calls and the bad calls to review them in team meetings 2-3 times a week. These meetings should be 30 minutes and should be positive. Let the team listen and let them chime in with ideas for improvement. Do role playing exercises to provide quality automotive phone training. My advise is to have the team meet at 8:30 before the day gets started. 4. Some call monitoring companies send weekly and monthly recap reports. Review the missed opportunity reports and review them with the CRM to see what happened with that phone number. In the case when the call was not logged in have a process where one person gets on the phone to call those missed opportunities as a guest relations representative and see what we can make happen here. 5. AutoTrader and Cars.com reports. I love when dealers complain how little traffic they get and how expensive these sources are. Cars.com does a great job sending daily phone call reports detailing each call that came in the day before. Dealers and BDC managers that do not pay attention to them are losing out. I have been preaching this for years. Cars.com call reports show calls that come in before and after hours. I see dealers average 1-2 calls a day like this and they get missed sometimes. In some cases these callers call during hours and they are logged. But what about the calls that do not come back. They are not logged and the opportunity is missed. It is a simple 5 minute per day process that needs to be reviewed. 6. Every advertisement or campaign, digital and/or traditional, even special finance needs to be planned. A phone process needs to be created and trained a minimum of 2 days before the campaign hits. Monitor the calls daily and listen for profit leaks. Adjust accordingly by proper training. This is the most proactive way to manage a BDC or sales calls in general. The bottom line is that at Dealer eTraining we believe that every dealership no matter what size needs a call monitoring solution. There are cost effective solutions for every dealership. It is the perhaps the number one ROI measurement tool in my opinion.