The conversation on digital retailing, customer experience and dealer optimization continues. But do our efforts on the dealer level reflect these conversations? More importantly, who on the dealer level is engaging in these conversations? How often have we gone to a dealer or OEM training session to not follow up on what was discussed? These conversations are the start of effecting positive change. But positive change can only be effective if your dealer’s processes change as well. 

Two of the biggest struggles dealers still face is answering a phone call properly and responding to a web lead correctly. Asking ourselves, “are we really still talking about taking calls responding to leads.” Sounds simple or something that we’re already doing, right? 

However, believe it or not, dealers still struggle to get contact information from the call and that initial email response out to the customer. And for those that do get the email out, it’s often not answering the customer’s questions. In fact, in many cases, if the customer does receive an initial email, it’s an auto-response offering that “so and so” will be reaching out to you. The problem with using an autoresponder during business hours is that the Sales Consultant or BD Agent that usually does reach out to the customer is not presented in the autoresponder. And while this doesn’t sound like a big deal, we’ve already created a breakpoint in the customer’s experience within the first five minutes. 

The breakpoint we’ve just created is having set up false expectations for the customer. The customer inputs their information/questions and is expecting a response. But when – and if they do get a response – it often doesn’t answer their questions. Those questions could be anything from pricing, trim-level, trade-in, and financing, to name a few. Or, even easier in today’s unique market, availability! So now, not only have the customers’ questions not been answered, but now they’re having to repeat themselves starting the process over.

If the customer doesn’t get a response at all, they might call the dealership but since no contact information was asked for, you don’t know it’s the same customer! You see, the keyword here is “might.” Without calling the customer or responding to their questions in an email, we’re “maybe” going to get the opportunity to earn their business. With the amount of money and resources that are invested on a monthly basis to have these opportunities, why then do we let ourselves go with “might” call vs. “your appointment is scheduled for (time).” 

To get that appointment and earn the customer’s trust, we have to communicate with them. Answering their questions – whether that is in an email, on the inbound call or making the outbound call. And while it’s certainly easier to speak directly with the customer on the phone, we have to first answer their questions – setting the tone for the next steps. But to get the next steps of the process, you have to respond in a timely fashion. Five minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but guess what? The customer is shopping at multiple stores. And if your store isn’t responding or does respond without answering their questions, they already have a bad taste in their mouth and potentially moved on. 

Whereas, if we’d responded within five minutes, answered their immediate questions, and offered the appointment or a phone call, the chances of you earning their business increases. To address this core issue we continue to face – your Sales Consultants, BD Agents, and sales managers need ongoing coaching and training. Without this, you’ll continue to be plagued with the same issues. How many leads and opportunities are you willing to throw away? 

Food for thought. Take a moment and see how much profit you’re potentially missing!