Monday, November 24, 2014

Lead Management: A Recipe for Success

Thanksgiving dinnerThe Halloween decorations have been put away. You’re starting to hear Christmas music playing on
the radio and in department stores. But wait a minute…what about Thanksgiving? That fantastic time of year when the air is crisp, the leaves are wonderful shades of orange and yellow, and there’s just one thing on everyone’s mind: lead management.

Wait, what?

Yep, you read that correctly. We know you thought we were going to say turkey, but lead management and cooking Thanksgiving dinner actually have a lot in common. Don’t believe us? Keep reading.

You Need Top Quality Ingredients to be Successful

You know the saying “You get out of things what you put into them”? Well that couldn’t ring more true for both making Thanksgiving dinner and lead management. If you put good stuff in (See what we did there? Stuff in…stuffin', as in turkey and stuffing), you’ll get good stuff out.

Cooking Best Practice: Unless you want to upset Aunt Bea and Uncle Joe, don’t sacrifice the quality of your ingredients for the sake of price or convenience. For instance don’t ruin the sweet potatoes by buying the ones in the can. Sure the fresh ones are more labor intensive, but when you put that delectable spoonful in your mouth, your efforts will be totally worth it.

Lead Management Best Practice: To successfully grow your business you need to know more than just the source of your phone calls. You need a lead management solution provider that offers options such as tracking campaign effectiveness, call recording and online lead tracking.

Preparation is Key

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And if you want to do something well, you have to prepare properly. Whether it’s cooking a turkey or managing leads, you can’t just jump in blindly. Bad, bad things will happen if you do.

Cooking Best Practice:  Give the turkey enough time to thaw. Check. Remove the giblets. Check. Season the bird on the outside and the inside. Check. Set the oven to the correct temperature. Check. Forget any of these steps and it could spell embarrassment when it’s time to carve. Follow these prep steps and you’ll end up with some succulent, food-coma-inducing poultry (tryptophan is no joke!).

Lead Management Best Practice: Who answers your phones and processes your leads? That’s right, your staff. So obviously they should be prepared. If they’re not, they could end up losing leads. 78 percent of potential customers will take their business elsewhere due to poor customer service. Proper training can mean the difference between closing a deal and losing a customer to another dealership.

The Devil Is in the Details

Details. They are so important, yet no one likes to talk about them. Forgetting the details can lead to an epic fail. Remembering them can equal pure awesomeness.

Cooking Best Practice: You put the turkey in the oven. Did you remember that you have to baste it often? You remembered to make everyone’s favorite pumpkin pie, but did you set the timer? And most importantly, did you remember to get the cranberry sauce? See…it’s all in the details.

Lead Management Best Practice: Having the best trained sales reps and the best lead management tracking tools means nothing if you don’t know how they’re all performing. Use an ROI reporting tool to figure out if your advertising campaigns are working. Filter and monitor your staff’s calls to know how they are responding to leads.

What's your recipe for success? Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What Are People Saying About Your Service?

So you’ve run several marketing campaigns to drive customers into your dealership. You’ve made sure that your prices are competitive. You’re even staying up to date on what’s trending and adjusting your promotions accordingly. Why do you feel like you’re forgetting something?

Because you are. You’re forgetting that good customer service is the butter to your service department's bread. Sure, you can have one without the other, but they are soooo much better together.

Don't let service fall through the cracks.

We'll bet you didn’t know that 74 percent of calls to a dealership are to inquire about parts and services. And a whopping 64 percent of in-market car shoppers say that a service department's reputation is a factor when choosing where to purchase a vehicle. Keeping those stats in mind, it would make sense to put your service department's customer service pretty high on your priority list.  Remember, the main reason for customer churn is poor customer service.

Woman telling secret to another woman

Customers talk… a lot.

A happy customer will tell four to six people about their experience. On the flip side, a dissatisfied customer will tell nine to 15 people about their experience. Which would you rather have, considering it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one negative experience?

Your service department should be providing top notch customer service whether a customer is spending $50 or $50,000. Cars don’t last forever, so wouldn’t it be awesome if a loyal customer bought a new car from you because your service department treated them so amazingly? Just let that marinate for a minute.

When performance is measured, it improves.

Are you wondering how to find out what quality of service your service department is providing? We thought so. Using call recording software can reveal exactly what your staff is saying to customers. Your staff will be encouraged to provide better service if they know they're being recorded. Voice recognition software can take things one step further by automatically scanning calls for keywords or phrases that you want (or don’t want) to hear from your staff.

Have tales about the awesome way your service department treats customers? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How to Monitor Calls Without Weirding out Your Staff

Bad communication between businessman and businesswomanAs every great customer service leader knows, call monitoring is a great way to make sure your
staff’s phone skills accurately reflect your brand. It's a perfect way to identify areas where you could have taken advantage of a sales opportunity with a customer. And it's a phenomenal way to eavesdrop on your employees and hound them for every little mistake they make.

Wait! One of these things is not like the others. The first two statements are true: Call monitoring is essential to protecting your brand image and making sure you take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. It shouldn’t, however, involve breaching your employees’ trust and sense of security. If an employee is dissatisfied, it affects their tone, their attitude and their ability to build rapport with callers.

To monitor customer interactions without damaging your relationship with your team, follow these four tips.

Let Your Team Know What You’re Looking For

Set concrete guidelines prior to reviewing calls. Review and understand your current call handling processes and establish parameters for labeling a call successful or not. Don’t assume they can read your mind.

Give Quick and Specific Feedback

No one likes enduring long harangues about what they did wrong — especially if the mistake happened days, weeks or even months ago. Approach your staff as soon as you find a potential problem and give very specific examples and reasons for the corrections. Don't be afraid to give honest, actionable feedback.

Look for Positives While Correcting Negatives

Reinforce employees’ strengths while driving home constructive criticism. Email each employee specific call recordings that demonstrate areas in which they need to improve. Periodically find examples of good calls and share them with your entire staff. Who doesn’t like a nice ego boost?

Use a Professional Opinion As Backup

If you use professional call evaluation services, you know they can be a life saver. The notifications you receive as part of the service allow you to quickly follow up on and correct mishandled calls. But these reports can also be helpful for staff coaching sessions. By referring to an objective, third-party assessment of an employee’s less-than-stellar phone performance, you don’t have to be the bad guy. 

Don't underestimate the impact of a well-designed phone training program. By letting your employees know what you expect of them and giving them the feedback they need to succeed, they’ll work hard to make the most of every phone call. For tips on helping your staff rock each conversation, check out our post on phone etiquette. (If you’re a fan of “The Voice,” you’ll want to read this.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Modern Dealerships Need to Be Fast on the Draw With Lead Response

Clock reading, "Timing is everything"
Dealers, we’re going to get straight to this point, because we don’t have much time. The point is this: As soon as a lead comes in, you need to respond to it. Within 5 minutes.

Consumers have almost all the research tools they need online, all the way up until the test drive phase. And some don’t even opt for the test drive anymore. Today, the average buyer visits about two dealerships before making a purchase. You want to be one of them.

To do that, you have to do whatever it takes to answer the phone when leads call, respond to their emails as soon as they hit your inbox and take action on web forms before the lead has time to visit the next dealership’s website.

Now go respond to some leads! Need help immediately knowing when a lead comes in? Let us know  we can help.