My friends at CallRevu are allowing me to share some interesting statistics from their most recent 2 million call report. This quarterly report aggregates data from over 1,200 dealerships and is sure to be eye opening for many dealers.
Call Revu analyzed data from 699,639 sales calls and found the following:
- 32% of incoming calls never connected with an agent. Of these, 7% of callers hung up when placed on hold, 8% left a voice mail, 8% hung up when they are transferred into voice mail and 10% hung up because nobody was available to help them
- 27% of all attempted calls resulted in appointments
- 46% of connected calls resulted in appointments
Call Revu analyzed data from 960,066 Fixed Ops calls and found the following:
- 23% of incoming calls never connected with an agent
- 45% of all attempted calls resulted in an appointment
- 74% of connected calls resulted in a price inquiry, inventory inquiry or appointment
- 18% of service calls are status checks on vehicles
If you look at these stats, the first thing that pops out is that dealerships are losing a huge amount of phone leads. Of calls to ALL departments, an average of 28% never got through to a human being! That’s hundreds of thousands of lost opportunities.
When dealers realize they are losing this many phone leads, they often blame it on people or processes. Sometimes that is the cause, but calls that never connect with a human being often have nothing to do with process. They have everything to do with technology. Specifically, these lost leads are a direct result of a poorly designed call flow.
A phone system’s call flow determines rules like how many times a person’s phone rings, whether a call gets routed back to the receptionist or into voice mail, and what happens to calls after hours.
Call flows are set up when the phone system is installed. An inefficient call flow emerges over time due to the following reasons:
- Employee turnover, extensions change, call groups changes
- New managers create new call flows, creates loops or black holes
- Lack of training for receptionists on call routing
- No tracking or management of incoming calls; what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done
The good news for dealers is that it’s possible to fix call flow problems. The first thing that needs to happen is a meeting that includes managers from all departments to discuss the current call flow. What does it look like? Do you have a call flow map? If not, create one so you can visually see the holes. Do you have a process for assigning and re-assigning extensions?
Now think about your sales process and service process. How do they work? Design a call flow that is synergistic with your current processes. Don’t let phone extensions ring more than four times. Avoid sending callers into voice mail except as a last resort. Create multi-line hunt groups to increase the chances of someone picking up. Create a process for assigning and re-assigning extensions when employees leave, as well as adding and deleting extensions.
It’s important that the people involved with creating the call flow are familiar with dealership operations and your specific processes. This is why managers must get involved.
Next, assign a keeper of the call flow. Someone has to be responsible for approving any requested changes to the call flow. If a new manager wants calls to be routed a certain way that does not fit in with your process, don’t let it happen. Also, the keeper should conduct an annual review to keep the call flow clean.
Is it possible to get a 100% connected call rate? According to Call Revu, in the very best dealerships 14% of calls still don’t connect with a human being. But there’s a lot of room for improvement between 28% of callers not connecting with an agent and 14% of callers not connecting with an agent. That difference could translate to thousands of dollars per month to the bottom line.
Do you have any idea how many phone leads your dealership loses every month due to poor call flow? Figuring this out is not something that most dealers place on their list of top priorities, but maybe after viewing these stats it will be.
Author: Erik Nachbahr
Erik Nachbahr founded Helion in 1997 with the goal of bringing strong information technology strategies and leadership to auto dealerships. That vision has guided Helion with a focus on outstanding service and innovative, client centric solutions. Nachbahr believes that a strong information technology strategy centers on improving the efficiency of the business it serves while controlling costs. Nachbahr holds a B.A. from Loyola University Maryland, an A.A. from Baltimore International Culinary College and industry certifications from Microsoft and Cisco. In his current role as president and CEO of Helion, he works as chief information officer for a client base with billions of dollars in annual revenue.