Since the phone is always ringing off the hook in the Service drive, it’s good business sense to help ensure your service staff is just as awesome as your sales staff when it comes to handling calls.
Most service writers handle dozens of calls every day, about all sorts of issues. Customers might call to set an appointment, check on the status of a vehicle, check the price of a potential service, or just ask a general question about the kinds of vehicles you service.
At a minimum, your training program should teach your employees how to clearly communicate appointment dates and times, what customers need to do before the appointment, who they will see, when to bring in their vehicle, and how long a visit should take. Get this right consistently, and you’ll cut down on no-shows, increase the efficiency of your shop, and boost your bottom line in the process.
Your service writers also should learn how to uncover as much information as they can while they’re on the phone with the customer. If you can get a good description of the problem and what the customer wants, that’ll save you time in the RO write-up process. Get that right and the customer will feel important because the advisor will be waiting on them with everything ready. The increased trust will help your service advisors book more hours per RO at better grosses. It also improves the effectiveness of any outbound calls.
Speaking of outbound calls, service advisors also spend a lot of their time calling customers who have vehicles in the shop. Usually this is a request for authorization to perform service along with an upsell attempt for additional maintenance or repair.
Your call training should cover the basics, including asking for permission to continue the call, identifying yourself, and stating the purpose of the call. But the real return on investment comes when you teach your advisors how to improve their upselling skills. Advisors who are good at upselling will often double or triple sales on a few ROs a day, and that adds up to a lot of additional revenue over the long term.
If you select the right individuals to handle your calls, train them well, and implement a process for logging all your calls with as much information as possible, you can pave the way for big improvements in revenue and customer satisfaction across your dealership.
Author: Alex Abramovich
Alex Abramovich joined Reynolds and Reynolds in 2012 as a consultant in Reynolds Consulting Services. He is qualified to consult on CRM process improvements and retail sales operations. Prior to joining Reynolds, he spent 10 years working in various dealership roles, including sales manager, finance manager, and general manager.