Even in today’s digital age, a phone call can be the difference between winning or losing a lead.
According to Car Wars, a leading phone solutions provider for automotive retail and one of VinSolutions’ newest integrated partners, dealerships are losing the majority of their hottest leads within the first 15 seconds of each call. On top of that, a staggering 39 percent of inbound sales calls into dealerships never reach a qualified employee.
Despite the rise of texting, social media and emailing, phone calls are the top communication method for converting customers, according to Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. Think about how your dealership is managing this critically important piece of the sales process. What happens to the phone call after the customer hangs up? Is the information integrated into their customer record, or does the customer start all over the next time they call and a different person picks up the phone?
If you’re like many dealers I talk to, the record of the phone call happening is in the CRM, but the contents of the discussion disappear into the abyss. When you lose the contents of calls, you’re probably also losing sales.
Most of the time, customers can buy the same new cars at other dealerships — for the same price. Pricing alone won’t win sales anymore. Your dealership must stand out to the customer in other ways: meaningful relationships and a positive car shopping experience.
Making customers repeat their whole story every time they call your dealership is not the shopping experience they expect. Customers do not want to be another number at a car dealership. They are not looking for the salesperson to be their new best friend, but they want to be heard, remembered and feel like the dealership is thinking about their unique needs and wants.
To provide customers with the experience they want, the CRM has to be the hub of all customer communications. Only tracking emails or checking the box that you made a phone call won’t cut it. To provide the best customer experience, you need one reference point for all the contents of your customer communications: text messages, email chains and call transcripts or recordings.
It’s unrealistic to expect salespeople to spend an hour digging through previous customer communications to get up to speed before a customer comes into the store. But with a data-rich CRM, they won’t need to. When the CRM is the hub of all customer communications, salespeople are armed with instant relevancy. With just a few clicks in a comprehensive CRM, salespeople have all dealership history, vehicle interests and personal information they need to create value for customers and continue building relationships.
A CRM that serves as the hub of all customer communications makes salespeople’s jobs easier and more effective, which will in turn improve the customer experience. When the contents of their previous dealership communications are stored and accessible, customers will feel like the dealership understands their needs and wants and is working on their behalf, instead of against them — all the while closing more deals because of that increase in relevancy and experience you are now providing.
A version of this post originally appeared in AutoSuccess.