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Incoming Calls Skyrocketing, but Dealers Unsure About Proper Handling

March 04, 2016
By Steve Anderson - Contributing Writer


Sometimes life can be an embarrassment of riches. Unexpected windfalls, upticks in business...these can make us wonder if we're really handling the circumstances correctly; when out on a lake full of fish, no one wants to wonder if we're casting the lines correctly. That's the circumstance that Dealer Marketing Magazine describes, as a CallSource survey details how incoming calls are spiking for businesses, but fewer than half believe that the calls are being managed correctly.


The CallSource survey found that that 89 percent of respondents reported an increase in inbound calls to dealerships, and almost half saw more than 15 percent increase just in the last year. A similar 89 percent agreed that a “comprehensive process” was important when it came to handling calls, but just 40 percent were actually confident that the calls were being handled correctly. Indeed, almost one in three believed that they were losing sales calls to competitors, at the rate of around one in every five.

There's also a clear discrepancy between how dealers believe they're doing and how they're actually doing. A third of dealers believed they converted calls to appointments between 21 and 49 percent of the time. CallSource data, however, found that the average ratio is about eight percent, so something is off. Moreover, for every four sales appointments set, at least one generally turns into a sale, so improving conversion rates becomes a clear priority for businesses. For new cars, that's around $2,200 in direct bottom line profit being missed.

Jenkins & Wynn Ford (News - Alert) Lincoln Honda's Casey Jenkins offered comment: “These days, with smartphones’ ‘click to call feature,’ more calls are streaming in than ever before. We have a few seconds to make or break a customer relationship. There is zero need to spend money marketing our services, if we can’t communicate professionally or convert a call to a customer transaction via the phone.”

With a lot of potential revenue flooding out the door, and a clear call to augment processes and better handle those incoming calls on hand, the next step should be clear. A caller is clearly interested in a product, whether that product is a used car, a stereo, or a sandwich, so taking that opportunity to convert an incoming call into an appointment to come in and see the stock firsthand is an opportunity few can pass up. It's never been easier for customers to make that incoming call, just as Casey Jenkins detailed, and so being better equipped—with not only hardware and software, but also training—is all the more important.

Businesses need to be prepared to strike while the iron is hot, and the iron has never been hotter when someone actually calls in. Having a handle on incoming calls, therefore, will improve the likelihood of call-to-appointment conversion, and therefore, appointment-to-sales conversion. Marketing can make calls happen, but without better conversion rates, much of that marketing will ultimately prove a waste.




Edited by Rory J. Thompson



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