Business: Hone Your Phone Skills

Tom Gardner | 05 Oct 2015

Business: Hone Your Phone Skills

Tom Gardner | 05 Oct 2015

In this article:

Tom Gardner guides you on tracking your business' phone calls.


 

  1. Know your total amount of calls (100%). 
    In all our customers the first steps we take are to establish how to capture the true data on how many calls hit the business. Our experience shows this is not robust in any automotive business we have launched, one major Mercedes dealer was at 50% when we started and are now nearing 98%. Still not perfect.
  2. Establish a 'company policy' standard for handling the calls. 
    Let the team know what is expected of them and train accordingly i.e. 'offer an appointment'.
  3. Establish a monitoring system to score the calls.
    Inspect what you expect. Every manager wants to listen to the relevant calls but finds this is too time consuming to find the calls and usually has no set scoring criteria to judge the performance. There needs to be a system for getting this job done
  4. Team playback sessions. 
    By playing the calls back to the team each call acts as a training session: good, bad or indifferent. Let the team hear themselves and allow them to self-analyse. This is the best form of learning as the team members critique themselves. This will allow us to establish a best practice code.
  5. Produce performance reports. 
    Based on the company's criteria produce reports and use these reports for regular appraisals with the team. These will highlight areas of deficiency for each individual and can be addressed in the team playback sessions.
  6. Group comparisons. 
    Nothing is good or bad until it is compared to something.
    If your team is part of a group, each dealership should be scored against the other to share best practice. The calls are empirical evidence and can be used inside the group for best practice, or poor practice to highlight areas that need improvement or areas that have improved.
  7. Enquiry Management reviews. 'How many calls do you need to sell 1 car'. 
    Why go to all this effort if we are not going to use the data and the training for an overall improvement in our criteria. We measure our sales departments on a sales-per-call-basis. One of our customers needed 12 calls to sell 1 car in 2010 and is now at 1 sale every 4 calls: a massive improvement through statistical evaluation and training.
  8. Systems. 
    In our experience handling a call is worth nothing or thousands of pounds to automotive businesses.  And it's not the customer that determines this but how the team member handles the call. From new, used and corporate sales; to aftersales booking appointments with up-sells; to out-bound EVHC calls and parts department ancillary item up-sells: each one of these areas can be improved upon - and the overall impact on the business is huge. Customer satisfaction can also be monitored and from simple reports we ascertain where our true sales/up-sells are coming from. Without a system (probably managed by a third party, preferably TTS!) this function is almost impossible to start, let alone maintain regularly.
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Wendy Hennessey

+44 (0) 1992 511521

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