Is your automotive call center doing everything it could be doing for your bottom line? Whether you have the best call center solution in the business or something lesser, there’s always room for improvement in how you make use of the tools provided. From sales and marketing, to customer satisfaction and support, an automotive call center can and should be the heart and center of your business. In this article, we’ll discuss nine specific ways to make your call center do more for your bottom line.
1) Lead generation.
Most dealerships know to use their call centers for lead generation, but it bears repeating. A well-equipped call center can generate leads efficiently and effectively, freeing up your sales agents to focus on doing what they do best: turning leads into sales. In this way, you emphasize the strengths of your resources, ultimately generating better results per man-hour and driving profits up. If your call center isn’t pulling weight on lead generation, get to work on making that happen.
2) Market segmentation.
There’s a lot of data passing through any call center. That information can be put to good use developing more effective market segmentation. It’s one thing to look at basic demographics and identify weak trends you can leverage. It’s another entirely to take the rich collection of consumer data available to your call center and produce a powerful engine of automated marketing. With the right market segmentation strategy and automation solution in place, you’ll be delivering materials so perfectly tailored, they may as well have been developed for the specific recipient.
3) Customer satisfaction.
Happy customers recommend businesses. Unhappy customers recommend the competition. And nothing will send a customer into one pile or the other faster than their experience with a call center. Control the narrative of your business by maintaining high customer satisfaction through your call center, and your business will thrive naturally. Nothing matters more to a car dealership than customer perception; the product is largely out of your control. You have to succeed on customer experience. Your call center can make that happen.
4) Effective Use Of Data.
Beyond what you use for market segmentation, you should use your call center as a general source of data. The more numbers you can crunch on your customers, the more effective every aspect of your business can become. When you spot how buyers act versus how non-buyers act, what actions convey their interests and pressure points, which questions indicate which market segments, then you can produce an increasingly sophisticated approach to interactions with your prospective and returning customers. This information helps the call center, it helps your marketing team, and it helps your sales team.
5) Follow-up contact.
Following up with customers offers many benefits, especially in the dealership business. First and foremost, it’s an excellent way to make sure your sales don’t fall prey to buyer’s remorse, damaging your brand and weakening your chance at repeat customers. It also provides opportunities to upsell (more on that later) and a chance to survey buying customers to see what makes them tick. If your call center isn’t making follow-ups as a matter of course, you’re leaving money on the table.
Make sure your call center works together with the rest of your efforts to develop your brand; it’s a potent tool for doing exactly that. It’s also a place many companies fall flat and deliver a soulless, bland, generic experience. Take the time to think about the message conveyed by your call center and ensure its consistency with your goals and other branding endeavors. This also ties in to customer satisfaction—no one wants their brand to be ‘bad customer support’.
7) Sales support.
Customers aren’t the only people who should be working with your call center. Your sales team should also be leveraging the center for full support in the sales process. With the right software at work, your call center becomes a nexus of data on prospects, customers, and products. Getting your sales team comfortable with utilizing that toolbox is crucial to pushing your business to the next level of profits.
8) Lead scoring.
Once you have the engine running well enough, its time to start considering how to tackle an excess of leads. Lead scoring can help your sales team make the right calls to the right people. If your call center is currently passing completely unfiltered and unscored leads to sales agents, it’s time to stop and think carefully about how you’re handling those leads. Not only do you want them passed down with enough data to be prioritized correctly, you should make sure they’re going to the right people. With your call center and sales team working together, you can always be putting the right man or woman for the sale in front of the prospect.
A properly leveraged call center can make sales of its own, without the help of a sales team. This does require a bit of additional training, to give a call center employee sales chops or teach a sales agent to handle calls, but it can make you a lot of money over time. Just make sure you don’t sacrifice satisfaction for one-off upsells.
As you can see, an automotive call center is quite the versatile beast, provided you use it correctly. All this is of course contingent upon having a modernized, well-integrated call center solution; if you’re behind the curve on that, then it’s going to be far harder to collect and use data, to foster unity and assistance between the call center and other employees, etc. Take the time to put together a properly coherent system, however, and you stand to reap immense benefits—and break those pesky sales plateaus.