Dec. 8, 2003 – Dealer Checkup
December 8, 2003
Filed under Features
Fixing your phone chaos
There is rarely a day that I do not call several different powersports dealerships. With astounding regularity I am appalled at how I am treated and what I hear or don’t hear.
If your dealership uses an automated answering system (auto attendant), here are a few do’s and don’ts you may want to consider when configuring your system.
Ever wonder why a good restaurant will not seat you even though tables are available? It is because they have learned that you will judge them from the time you sit down until you are served, and they cannot overrun the kitchen.
Funny how waiting an hour for a table is a sign of a good restaurant but waiting 15 minutes to be waited on after being seated indicates a bad restaurant.
I am convinced that a busy signal is the lesser of the evils to waiting on hold, leaving a message in a cold impersonal machine, or wading around through endless loops of options while being told how much the company values you, how they are the best, and that you will be assisted in the near indefinite future. Maybe!
Setting up a phone system
So, how would I set up an auto attendant phone system?
Why 1 for Parts instead of Sales like in most dealerships? Here’s why: You receive more calls for Parts than any other department. So, if you can start taking care of your largest group of callers in four seconds instead of 15 seconds in addition and give them only information that is important to them at the moment, I can assure you they will be happier and easier to assist when you do take their call.
Example: Press 2 for Service. As the call is being transferred to that department you may “sell.” For example: “At BIG FUN POWERSPORTS we believe you should never miss playtime, so we now offer one day and while-you-wait service options for tune-ups, oil changes, tires and most routine maintenance. Ask for details.”
Play a few seconds of music and then present another department feature benefit, followed by a few seconds of music and then just music until the department answers the call.
If the greeting took five seconds, followed by the transfer to a department that did not answer, followed by a rollover to someone after 20 seconds, and it took another 20 seconds for that person to answer, your guest has already been waiting for assistance for 45 seconds. That seems like a long time when you are trying to get an answer to your important question.
Mailboxes can be a very effective time management tool if they are used by those you have relationships with and who have been given a mailbox extension number.
Anyone who has answered a call can offer to take a message or transfer the caller to the appropriate person’s mailbox but it should always be your caller’s choice. If you cannot handle all your calls, then add people or limit your phone lines.
It is my experience that customer satisfaction will suffer either on the floor or on the phone if your available incoming lines equal 30% of your total staff that is available for customer support, regardless of the size of your dealership.
REMEMBER! Your telephone is just another door to your dealership. First impressions rule, and your phone guest’s view of your dealership is 100% controlled by how he or she was treated by your phone system, the staff member who took their call and the picture they created of your dealership.