On a busy day at the dealership, it’s easy to dismiss the constant ring of the telephones. Even with countless telephone service representatives at the ready, some calls are still going unanswered. And every call missed, no matter when or how, is revenue lost.
In fact, DMEautomotive estimates that with backstop call handling alone, service revenue can increase an average of nearly $18,000 a month—or well over $200,000 a year. That’s money that even the most profitable businesses wouldn’t mind having back. And it turns out that missing up to $200,000 a year isn’t the worst of it.
A new DMEautomotive analysis shows that dealerships are missing out on calls from the customers who represent almost one-third of their total potential service dollars. That’s quite a dent in the bottom line.
The study, involving 8,537 overflow and after-hours service-related calls across 172 dealerships, identified nearly 70% of those callers as “swing loyalists”: the segment of customers who either spend most of their service dollars at the dealership or visit the dealership most often, but not both. Swing loyalists’ spend makes up 31% of all dealership service revenue. Additionally, these customers have a high propensity to become loyal, increasing their value to the dealership.
But it’s not just the customers who might become loyal that were missed.
The data also revealed that one-fifth of those potentially missed calls were from dealership “loyalists”: customers who visit most often and spend most of their service dollars at the dealership. Loyalists contribute a whopping 59% of a dealership’s service dollars.
And the callers are everywhere you look: standing in line and staring at their palms as they tap away on a tiny screen. In fact, 90% of Americans carry mobile phones, and 50% of those are smart phones, according to 2014 Pew Research data.
The phone call has once again become an essential source of leads and communication with customers. The evidence? Phone leads are growing at a greater pace than Internet leads—and represent some of a dealership’s highest-value sales and service opportunities.
Unfortunately, those valuable calls are the ones most likely to be missed.
According to the DMEa 2014 segmentation studies, the highest-value dealership service customers are swing loyalists and loyalists. These two groups comprise 90% of a dealerships’ after hours and overflow callers. In missing those calls, dealers also risk a poor customer service experience and defection from the customers who comprise the majority of their business.
After all, 89% of consumers who experience poor service with your brand will leave for your competition, according to 2013 data from Forrester.
So, what do we do to keep these customers and lasso in the finicky swing loyalists?
Dealers must develop a complete set of flexible, scalable, and compliant inbound and outbound customer-contact management solutions to ensure no call goes unanswered. Without it, they risk losing a huge chunk of service revenue and those vital-to-the-bottom-line loyal customers.
Look for programs that include outbound CSI; intelligent and skill-based routing; unsold follow up and “first appointment” call campaigns; 24/7 availability recovery plans; complete inbound service appointment setting; expert-level recruiting and training to make every customer’s experience as positive as possible; and backstop/overflow support when it’s just too busy to catch every call.
Make the best of the digital age: Find programs that optimize cloud-based data storage and data redundancy for easy access from anywhere. Finally, make sure that your program enables real-time reporting and call recording to maintain the highest level of customer service for every customer, every time.
Keep the customers talking . . . all the way to the bottom line.
Mike Martinez is chief marketing officer of DMEautomotive, the industry leader in science-based, results-driven automotive marketing that provides a range of marketing services to the biggest and most innovative automotive organizations in the industry. For more information, email [email protected].
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