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Too many dealerships are missing opportunities on a big percentage of incoming calls

Your website looks fantastic. Your VDPs are chock-full of details and fully optimized. On Google reviews, you’re the best store in town. After all that time and money spent, your phones are ringing.

Now what? If you’re like a majority of dealerships, you’re missing opportunities on a big percentage of those calls—and flushing a lot of marketing dollars down the toilet.

The numbers are sobering: According to a recent Dealix survey of more than 3,000 phone calls into dealerships, dealers miss opportunities nearly three-quarters of the time. Up to 72% did not ask the caller for an appointment, and 35% did not suggest an alternative if the caller’s first vehicle of choice was already sold.

Dealerships just like yours get a lot of calls every day. It’s hard to keep track of what’s going on. That’s why forerunners in the industry are turning to customer interaction analysis tools.

Customer interaction analysis defined

Customer interaction analysis is the process of collecting and analyzing interaction data between a business and its customers to improve service and reduce lost opportunities. When a customer calls into your dealership, the software recognizes and tags keywords that you’ve chosen, and automatically alerts the appropriate person if the call starts to go south.

For example, a customer calls about a red Corvette on your website and asks for a test drive. It was the only red Corvette on your lot, and it’s gone. Instead of directing the caller to another vehicle and trying to make an appointment, the staff member answering the call simply tells the caller the car is gone and hangs up.

The software recognizes the intent of the call was to find out about a specific vehicle because of customized keywords (website and test drive), categorizes the call as a sales inquiry, and sends an alert with the keywords and a link to the recorded call to your sales manager.

The software reverse-tracks the caller’s phone number so your sales manager can listen to the recording, call the customer back, apologize for the sales rep not explaining your car-finding process, and get a second chance to meet the caller’s needs.

How will it work at my dealership?

The best aspect of this type of software solution is that no heavy lifting is required. Your dealership chooses keywords and phrases, then decides which person in each department receives the alerts. Keywords are customizable and easily changed to match specific promotions or situations.

For example, let’s say you’re running a Tahoe promotion that’s advertised on your website and other digital marketing platforms. If “Tahoe” is on your list of keywords and has a big presence on your trending reports, you know your marketing is working, and the ROI on that spend is high.

Customer interaction analysis is also invaluable to root out disgruntled customers and correct problems before they affect the bottom line.

Let’s say a customer is upset because the wait for a service was too long. This customer calls and asks to speak to a manager. Even if “manager” isn’t one of your keywords, the system will connect this with an indication of dissatisfaction and automatically alert your designated customer service contact.

Within minutes the customer will get a call back, giving your dealership a second chance to fix the problem and turn what could have been a lost opportunity into an experience that inspires loyalty.

What are the benefits for me?

The biggest benefit to your dealership is the ability to understand what went wrong on a call, and recapture the opportunity. A recent Dealer Marketing Magazine article cited an analysis of more 600 U.S. dealers that showed closing rates are as high as 25% when a mishandled call is revisited.

This proves the point that calls are your hottest leads for sales and service. Mishandled calls negatively affect your bottom line, but customer interaction analysis can help by illuminating where you’re going wrong and cultivating loyal customers.

It’s also an invaluable tool for employee training. Your managers can listen to calls, speak directly with customers to isolate the problem, and turn that knowledge into a training opportunity.

The final big benefit is marketing ROI. Remember all that money you put into your last big vehicle sale? Did it work?

Customer interaction analysis takes a lot of the guesswork out of determining marketing results. Trending reports show you exactly what keywords are hot: If the crucial words in a campaign show up repeatedly, you know you’ve hit the sweet spot.

Smartphones and click-to-call buttons aren’t going anywhere, so now’s the time to up your team’s phone-handling skills. Customer interaction analysis is the most effective tool available to root out systemic phone handling problems, win back missed opportunities, and determine which marketing campaigns return maximum ROI.

And coming soon, you can expect this powerful technology to be applied to other communication channels like texting and social media, providing a complete communication picture that reverberates all the way down to your bottom line.

Gary Graves is the CTO and co-founder of Interactivetel, a system that tracks, monitors, and reports each customer interaction by phone or text to give dealers comprehensive knowledge of their customers. For more information, contact ggraves@interactivetel.com.

Dealer Marketing Magazine | October 2016

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