[Posted August 28th by Keith Shetterly]
The automotive industry has stiff competition. Even when people are loyal to a brand, they don’t always return to the same dealership. This makes is more challenging than ever for dealers to attract new customers and get existing ones to return when it’s time to purchase a new car. However, an automotive call center can help dealerships succeed.
Every dealership has to close up shop for the night at some point. While most customers aren’t out buying cars in the early morning hours, dealers can still benefit from marketing that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to handling phone calls, a quality automotive call center will also address leads that come in from Internet landing pages. This allows dealers to capture sales based on customers who are looking for cars with different features and trying to find specific models. These potential customers who are shopping from home are the wave of the future, and dealers can reach them more effectively with the right call center.
Focus on Strengths
It’s important to generate leads, but dealers also have to address the customers that are currently standing in the showroom. While it’s vital to reach out to new customers, it’s more important to take care of the customers who are on site and interested in test drives. With call centers, the sales staff won’t have to take time away from on-site customers to generate new leads. They can focus on providing the highest level of customer service while a third party goes through the motion of generating new leads and reaching out to potential customers.
In addition to freeing up the sales team from searching for leads, the sales staff also doesn’t have to ask a customer at the showroom to wait while they answer the phone. Most people don’t leave messages, and they won’t always call back. It’s vital that they receive a personal answer when they call, but that can mean having the on-site staff risk losing a sale by walking away to answer the phone. The call center can handle these calls, gather information and forward the details to the sales staff when someone is free. They can also share information with the customers regarding available inventory, special promotions and showroom hours.
A big part of advertising is being aware of what customers look for, and call centers keep dealers informed by conducting market research on a regular basis. They have specialists making calls and gathering information to help dealer’s fine tune their marketing.
There is an ongoing debate about the value of call centers for dealers. Some dealers worry that the sales staff will lean too heavily on the call center or that the call center will mask problems that are present within the sales force. However, this is easily avoided through ongoing training. The showroom sales force can be trained to follow up on leads provided by the call center when they are not with customers, and the call center can provide reports showing how many leads are turned over and how many are pursued in a timely manner. When the two groups work as a team providing support to each other, the dealership and entire staff will benefit.