Superior Training Produces Superior Results

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Nicole Marcellino

The telephone has been a staple in communication for decades. It has been something so important that we have developed the technology to take them from a wall and 6ft cord to being in pocket/or hand for that matter, all day long. So why is it that some industries still have not figured out that phone training is a quintessential part of running a business? 

I recently had an experience where I couldn’t even FIND a phone number for customer service for a company that I was using for a monthly delivery arrangement! How does that even happen? Once I got the chance to search the inter-webs for over 30 minutes, I finally came to a number that started with an automatic directory and hoped that I would be able to speak to someone on the phone. 

While a directory may be a valuable tool, it should not take someone hitting 12 codes and listening to 3 hold songs to finally speak to a PERSON on the phone. What we’re running into is that companies are forgetting how VALUBLE interpersonal interactions are.  When I have a problem/ question and I would like to get it solved quickly, I would like to be able to pick up the phone and make a call. Then speak with someone who is educated about the process to answer my questions and leave me feeling relieved that my problem is either solved or on its way to being solved, and my questions answered. 

Why is it that great car dealerships do this, and other industries don’t? Why have automotive dealerships kept that personal touch? 

Dealerships have kept this “personal touch” because retention in the automotive world is the name of the game. This is accomplished not only by extensive training and coaching for associates but more specifically, dealership phone training. Dealers know that one bad experience will travel at the speed of light and if we are communicating on the phone and face to face, we must be on our “A-game” for each scenario. 

Dealership phone training provides agents with the skills necessary to take a customer who has questions and concerns and turn them into organized, educated, and excited customers for their visit to the dealership. Why wouldn’t another industry want to utilize this tool, especially if they don’t get a second chance with an in-person visit in some cases? Some companies only get one shot, and that’s on the phone, to provide value and a service. 

Dealership phone training starts from the second a receptionist answers the phone. We can determine if their performance is satisfactory or if it needs to be adjusted, which is a great asset since the receptionist can easily make or break a customer experience.  Then we move to the sales/service/parts representative. Dealership phone training benefits each associate when done efficiently because now each department is getting (and giving) the most on every call. Why wouldn’t other industries want this same experience? Who else has called their phone provider only to suffer through an associate telling them that their account is “fixed,” to find out during the next billing cycle that it has not in fact had any adjustments made and you have to call back again? Then you must go through the same process all over again. Having a thoroughly trained associate to handle all issues in the first shot is crucial. Recall, manufacturers’ questions include “was it fixed right the first time?” Dealership phone training sets an associate up to handle all questions and concerns in a timely matter, and if they cannot get that information, they set a firm time to call back with a solution. This should be commonplace, not an outlier. 

Dealership phone training also sets up the associate to have most answers ready and available for whatever question the customer has. In such a fast-paced environment this is crucial to staying on top of our game. Some other industries would benefit to learn this as well, especially when it comes to providing a service. I have experienced working for companies that do no phone training whatsoever besides making sure that we greet our customers with a certain phrase. Needless to say, the customer service was not consistent, and some customers got a much better experience than others. This was a call center, by the way, making birthday party bookings for a local “bounce” center. Why not have your first impression be your best impression? Even if you are just booking birthday parties; if this is the majority of your revenue, we need to be on our “A-game” to keep customers coming back. 

Great dealerships are always striving to work as a collective team to make sure that each customer is handled perfectly offering the best experience possible. Dealership phone training ensures that regular coaching of these associates is performed, and they are consistently working on improving themselves in all aspects of their job. Hiring someone and training them once, which is commonly done to “cut costs” and “maximize profit” by other companies/industries really does nothing for them.  Consistent work towards being the best that someone can be AND implementing new tools based on the market/ business trends is how we SHOULD be growing our brands.  

Cost cutting – especially in the last two years – has done one thing, tarnish the customer experience. We have been masked and told to stay back far away from our peers/ customers and it is really affecting EVERYONES interpersonal skills. Consistent training, aka ongoing coaching, is the only way to make sure that we have not forgotten that we are not robots speaking to other robots. We are humans, we have emotion and need that “personal touch” to create an experience. Humans are craving interaction and a great experience, as always. Dealership phone training has provided those great organizations that have not forgotten this fact, the tools to continue to serve their customers in as personal a format as possible. We cannot forget that a transaction like purchasing a vehicle isn’t just a financial transaction, but an emotional one. We need to keep playing to both of those facets or we will never succeed, not only in the automotive industry, but any industry providing customer service. 

Just like great dealerships, other industries need to stop “cutting costs” and INVEST in their most important asset: their people. Their current employees that are the “face/voice” of the company. Dealership phone training gives great dealerships the opportunity to stay on top of ensuring every customer receives a great experience from start to finish. We should all take a page from that book and remember we don’t make money without being in the people business first. Dealership phone training should not just be in dealerships, phone training should be an important part of all customer service providers, no matter what the product/service is that they provide. 

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