Automotive Industry Professionals

October 2, 2012

Your Phones and Your Financial Statement – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Your Phones and Your Financial Statement

It is news to no one that your dealership’s mission is to Obtain and Retain Customers in every profit center, maximized for every Ad Dollar you spend, by getting the best possible results from every “Customer Contact”… Right?


For many car dealerships the advertising cost to make the phone ring is well over $100 for each sales call… Agreed?

Unless I am missing something, there are only 2 essential reasons behind every Phone Call we field. Sure, we can break them down into dozens of call types, such as “Price”, “Trade”, “Do You Have”, “Service Pricing”, etc… But when we really think about incoming calls from people who want to do business, the real deal comes down to two main caller objectives:

  1. “Can I Become Your Customer?”
  2. “Can I Remain Your Customer?”

Consider the road blocks to answering either of those two questions in the positive for auto dealers right now, and ask yourself where your business is failing the mission.

With the steady increase of web generated phone call/lead form ratios, more than ever before, in today’s car dealership the Phone Process and Mechanics, as well as thePhone Skills of those handling incoming calls are the determining factors for Obtainingand Keeping customers, growing market share and driving profitability.


Consider the following  summary of actual car dealership phone call handling performance metrics from my team’s study of over a Million Incoming Calls to all dealership profit centers… 


New Car Sales Calls:

  • 40% of Sales Callers never reach an agent on the inbound call. 
  • 57% of the Callers that do reach the agent they’re calling for, don’t provide us their Contact Information.
  • 20% of Sales Calls set appointments, leaving 80% un-appointed with little chance to follow up.
  • 26% of Sales Calls are “Off Lined” with promises of call backs.
  • 25% of Connected Sales calls are entered into CRM, owned and triggered.


325,000 New Car and Lease Calls Measured -
Blended Makes, Blended Regions

Would you like me to be your customer? What is happening on your telephones in the sales department?


Of the callers that call to ask “Can I be your customer?” 40% are told “No” because they don’t reach the department or person they’re calling for!  Of 130,183 calls that never made it, here is the breakout for where they went:

What happens to the 40% of calls for sales that don't reach the intended agent at your dealership


Service Calls:

  • 60% of Service Price calls are answered without an offer for an Appointment.
  • 71% of Service Callers are not asked for updated Contact Information.
  • 44% of Service Calls result in an appointment
  • 25% of Service calls after 2 PM are “Status Updates” 


557,000 Service Calls Measured -
Blended Makes, Blended Regions

Would you like me to remain your customer? What is happening on your telephones in the service department?


Of the callers that call to ask “Can I remain your customer?” 23% don’t reach the department/person they’re calling for, better than sales, but nearly 1 in 4!.  These calls are where we “Retain” not only Service Customers, but Future Sales Customers.  Here is the breakout for 126,594 calls that never made it: 

What happens to the 23% of service calls that don't reach the intended agent at your dealership?


These shocking but very real performance metrics beg the question: What are the phone mechanics you could put in place to improve on these numbers that directly impact the financial statements at your dealership? 


Before you spend an additional dollar on Marketing, Advertising or Social Media campaigns designed to make your dealership’s phone ring, consider measuring and improving what is clearly THE number one contact point for your customers.  The effectiveness of your dealership’s phone mechanics and the “Caller’s Journey” that customers experience will dictate whether or not your profitability is being maximized.


About the Author:

Chip Kingowner of CallRevu, LLC, spent his career in automotive retailing from 1977 to 2008. Holding every position in variable operations, including General Manager and Dealer Principal, King has had a special focus on the “customer experience” throughout. CallRevu was born in 2006 to manage the age-old and biggest profit leak in the retail auto business – the phone. CallRevu has since grown to a staff of over 250, and serves dealerships across the U.S. 


Chip is a highly sought after subject matter expert for many of the auto industry’s biggest and best dealer conferences such as NADA, Digital Dealer, AutoCon, Automotive Leadership Roundtable and others. He is passionate about sharing his expertise with dealers and managers on how to correct the top profit leaks in the auto dealership phone process. 

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