How to Fix the Leaks in Your Call-Tracking Process

The average dealership loses 84% of calls because they aren’t tracked when they come in

If you’ve seen an uptick in phone calls to your dealership, you’re not alone. Thanks to the widespread use of smartphones, it’s faster and easier for consumers to use a click-to-call phone link in an advertisement than to fill out a web form. As a result, many dealerships are implementing call-recording and call-tracking systems.

The problem is that many systems don’t track every number that calls into a dealership. This is a serious flaw when you consider the average dealership that sells 150 cars a month has 45,000 calls coming in, but tracking is typically done on only 3,000 minutes of calls.

This affects your marketing ROI—if you don’t track all calls, how do you know what campaigns work and where you should put your money? It also affects your sales—if you don’t have customer information, how do you follow up with people who haven’t converted yet?

Only when you track every call can you plug these holes to drive more sales and better ROI on marketing campaigns.

Finding your holes

Most dealerships today are about transparency, and often have a “Meet Our Staff” website section that lists telephone numbers for each team member.

When you put numbers out there, people call them. You need to track every call to know what triggered the offline contact. Was it your website? A pay-per-click-click campaign? Tracking is also the only way to ensure follow up on those leads that don’t convert to an appointment during the first call.

The average dealership loses 84% of calls because they are not tracked when they come into the store. These are the most common holes in tracking systems:

The receptionist: The majority of a dealership’s calls come in through the receptionist. Receptionists often don’t have time to ask callers how they found the dealership’s number because they’re focused on getting them to the right department and helping to close a sale.

Besides, how many callers want to be asked immediately if they clicked on a paid search ad, went to the website, or if saw an advertisement on TV? The caller simply wants to be helped as quickly as possible.

Service department: The service department is every dealership’s best bet for steady and consistent revenue. When a call comes in, you want to know how the customer found your shop.

What keywords, ad messages, landing pages, and campaigns are working to pull in these valuable customers? If you’re not tracking service lines, you won’t know what’s working and what to do again.

Parts department: Callers to your parts department have the potential to turn into long-term service customers. If they like the price of a part or how fast you can get it, you potentially have a new service customer who will return often.

But if your team doesn’t capture the caller’s name and phone number, it’s impossible to follow up with a special or promotion if the initial call doesn’t turn into an appointment.

F & I department: If someone calls your finance department, it’s a good bet he or she is getting close to a vehicle purchase.

As with your service and parts departments, if your team doesn’t capture the caller’s name and phone number, it can’t follow up if the caller hangs up without making an appointment.

Hang-up calls: There are many reasons why callers hang up before speaking with a live person. They may figure out the information on their own, another task may demand their attention, or they may just not like to wait.

It’s this last reason that can hurt you. Callers who have to wait too long will most likely call one of your competitors. You need to track abandoned calls to identify problems before they start to affect your bottom line.

Plugging your holes

Whether you currently have a call-tracking system or are evaluating your options, the following attributes are necessary to help plug your holes:

  • Record every call. You have to be able to record every line in every department, and most importantly, calls coming in to your reception desk.
  • Record all lines. This includes landline, mobile phones, toll-free, local, and long-distance calls.
  • Capture call data. You want to capture all available inbound call data, including date and time of call, call length, and name and address. Call length, in particular, can help you see which keywords generate the longest calls, and where you should be putting more of your marketing dollars.
  • Track source. A system that tracks and announces the media source that prompts the call will help you calculate exact ROI and make the best marketing decisions moving forward.
  • Deliver real-time reports. Old data doesn’t do you much good. A system should deliver customized call-data reports in real time so you can see immediately which PCC campaigns, landing pages, and keywords are driving the most calls.
  • Record outbound calls. It’s important to also record outbound calls so you don’t have holes—or gaps in knowledge—when a salesperson reaches out to a consumer. This is also great for quality control because you hear how team members are interacting with consumers, and can make adjustments as needed.

Phone calls drive much dealership business, so it makes sense to track and record your lines. But a system that tracks only a fraction of lines won’t give an accurate picture of marketing ROI or help you capture all the leads coming in.

Only when you plug the holes with a system that tracks every call can you hone your marketing efforts toward campaigns that work, and follow up with every lead that doesn’t convert to an appointment during that initial phone call.

Jack Behar is the CEO 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

Jack Behar


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