How much is enough? This question could be posed for anyone and anything. However, when we start to get down to brass tacks in the service department, we all seem to swim in a grey area of pushing for profit, perfect customer service and how much an advisor can really handle before they hit their breaking point.
We all know how important it is to have someone knowledgeable and efficient on the phone when it comes to customer service. The phone call is the “first impression” experience for many people who are looking to service their vehicle and end up calling a dealership for assistance. A dealership needs someone who knows what they are talking about and can answer questions as they move through the appointment making process. Let’s not forget the main point of the call as well, and that is getting the customer and their vehicle into the garage.
Service advisors are well versed on their schedule, the vehicles that they will be working with, shop times and what the customer should expect when it comes to how long a repair may take. They are also up to speed on recalls and most parts issues if there is a common repair being made in the shop at any point in time. The advisor is the one to speak with the customer when they are having their vehicle worked on and are also in charge of building that valuable business to client relationship that keeps the customer coming back again. This would be the argument most make to have service advisors be the people to make the appointments on the phone.
However, we all forget that advisors wear more than just one hat. They do not get the good fortune of staying at their desk typing away on a computer all day. They are responsible for greeting customers in the lane, speaking with technicians in the shop, calling extended warranty companies for claims and are also expected to review the procedures performed on the vehicle once their customers come in to pick up. None of these things includes answering the phone for a customer who has questions or concerns about getting their vehicle seen. As a service advisor at a dealership the expectation is that you do it all with a smile on your face. This can be done if the advisors have a well-oiled team and systems in place that create efficiency in a prefect world. However, we all know that today’s world is not perfect. People get sick, have vacation time, systems fail and don’t forget, customers are a regularly changing variable that need to be adjusted to.
With that being said, answering the phone and making appointments can be a daunting and stressing task to add to the ever-changing, fast paced environment that service advisors work in. BUT making sure that we have a process in place for the phone can help ease that pain. That can be done through having a trained BDC that handles all appointments and or takes the burden off the advisors during heavy call volume times. The call format doesn’t change, the advisors just get relief from the phone to focus on their customers in front of them. When we focus and train on a specific process, we can streamline a call. We want to make sure that the customers’ concerns are listened to and then move toward the end goal which is getting them in the door to address those concerns. With a standardized call process, we can ensure that we listen to the customer, give them options that best work to their schedule for an appointment and make sure that they are educated and comfortable with the process when they arrive. This starts everyone off on the right foot and should help with that oh so important business-client relationship.
Should most calls go through a BDC? I say YES because advisors have enough on their plates to worry about and the customer on the phone deserves just as much attention as the customer in the store. However, it is a great idea to have the service staff and the BDC on the same page so that everyone in the department functions in the same way. Your standard for customer service never faulters and your customers experience first class service no matter who picks up the phone.
Is this something that your service department implements right now, or does something need to change?