Be Ready to Handle Difficult Callers

At times, it can seem like nearly everything business-related is done online.

Whether it’s advertising or managing finances, most functions of a dealership have significant web-based components. But with so much attention on all things digital, it’s crucial to make sure you don’t overlook a fundamental aspect of your business: phone calls.

Frustrated woman on the phoneCall handling remains a cornerstone of dealership operations. In fact, calls account for over one-fourth of initial interactions between potential buyers and dealerships.

In a perfect world, every call would lead to an in-person visit and an eventual vehicle purchase. The reality, however, is that some of the calls that your dealership receives will be difficult to handle. Whether a caller is angry, impatient, or tough to understand, your associates must be prepared to deal with calls that could push their buttons.

You can deliver superior customer service by preparing ahead for such instances. Here are some steps you can take to ensure your dealership is ready to handle those challenging calls.

Train Employees Using Real Scenarios

A great way to teach your employees how to handle difficult calls is to let them listen to actual recordings from within your dealership. Call recording is a key asset for effective training because you can pinpoint exact moments of the conversation for critique. Training your staff through authentic examples of conversation will help them learn what to say and what to avoid.

Another benefit of call recording is that you can focus your efforts on addressing the specific needs mentioned by callers. If a caller is unhappy about something when they dial your number, you’ll have a recording of the call so you can follow up directly with a solution to their concerns and step up your customer service.

With the help of call recording, Jerry Damson Automotive Group has found that follow-up is needed on 10 to 15 calls per day to save deals and maintain the highest customer service possible.

Don’t Let Emotions Win

Callers’ emotions tend to escalate when they’re on the phone. Handling numerous calls means your staff will likely hear some things that are negative, foul, or even downright abusive. But every company employee still has the responsibility of representing the organization, and they don’t exactly have free rein to blurt out their first reactions.

Teach your employees to control their emotions by being active listeners. Remind them that customers are typically not criticizing them personally and that their frustrations may have valid origins toward a process or simply the stress of buying a vehicle. It’s important for all employees to remain polite and respectful, regardless of how the person on the other end of the phone acts.

Follow Up on Mishandled Calls

Call handling is never perfect. The average dealership mishandles 41 percent of inbound calls for a wide variety of reasons. Perhaps there was a messy exchange, an inability to answer a question, or a failure to set up an in-person appointment.

The good news is that there are ways you can salvage these connections. Certified call evaluation professionals can help you trace call handling errors, and your predetermined personnel will be alerted of mishandled opportunities. Following up to address a mishandled call has been found to generate a closing rate of 25 percent, which could represent a tremendous revenue boost.

Stay Focused on Success

Phone calls will remain a central part of your interactions with potential customers, and it’s to be expected that some calls will be harder to handle than others. But by recording calls, training your staff, and following up on mishandled calls, you can ensure your dealership has its best foot forward to deal with even the most challenging conversations.

How Motorcycle Dealerships Can Connect With Younger Buyers

If your motorcycle dealership is like most, then you know the struggle of reaching millennial customers.

The industry has been on a steady generational shift over the last few decades. Motorcycle buyers in 1990 averaged age 32. Today, with over half of the market in the 50+ age group, the average age is 47.

As a whole, millennials aren’t quite as interested in bikes as baby boomers and older generations are. Riders are getting older, they’re purchasing fewer bikes, and their buying patterns are far different from 30 years ago.
Motorcycle handlebars
So, how should dealerships approach this shift? Do millennials really have a general lack of enthusiasm for bikes, or is there something in your messaging and marketing approach that simply needs some fine-tuning to reach this demographic?

Be Proactive

Sales opportunities with younger people are even more crucial to capture and optimize because of the numerous options at their disposal. In our e-commerce world, they’ll just move on to the next site if they have a negative experience.

With that said, it isn’t enough to simply have an online presence. Dealers must also be able to provide value for curious internet users, engage with them effectively, and convert them into customers.
It can be difficult for dealerships to really know how to connect with a younger audience. One proactive step to take is to implement call mapping to give you a better picture of where calls are coming from. Call mapping can also open doors to gathering demographic data, which can translate into useful insight for your dealership.

The more you can relate to your customer, the more likely they’ll be to start a dialogue with you. Not only can this practice help generate new sales leads among millennials, but it can lend you a better understanding of your customers.

Understand Younger Buyers

In order to harness the purchasing power of a younger audience, it is important to understand motivations involved. For many millennials, finding a big, intimidating bike is less important than it might be for older riders. Instead, these younger generations are more interested in finding value and seeking unique experiences.

Some motorcycle manufacturers have even developed new bikes that appeal more specifically to younger buyers, but it ultimately falls to dealerships to complete the sale. This happens by building trust with the customers early on and discovering their top buying priorities.

If you are able to record and listen to your calls, asking callers insightful questions will reveal what they are looking for most in a motorcycle. With this knowledge, you can focus your efforts on fulfilling these needs for that specific customer when they come to your store.

Managing your calls successfully, while keeping in mind what is important to your buyer, provides dealers with the tools to serve their customers on a more intuitive level. Winning the business of millennials starts with delivering superior customer service while catering to their needs better than your competition.

Practice Superior Customer Service

The motorcycle buying process is more than just a transaction; it’s an experience. Each part of the experience is important, but heavy emphasis rests upon customers’ conversations with sales reps. For instance, if you called a dealership and heard a sloppy greeting, mumbling, and indifferent answers, you would probably look for a place that seemed more interested in earning your business, right? But as a sales manager, how can you identify those calls? And how do you fix them? Well, there are a few ways.

The first is more conventional: call recording. By recording your calls, you have the ability to listen to the interactions between employees and prospects, so if they’re providing subpar service, you can identify and correct the specific missteps. The next option if even better. With the right call tracking provider, you can have call evaluation professionals listen to and flag the recordings for you!

One unique way to monitor your reps’ phone calls is by implementing speech-recognition technology through your phone system (we know a guy for that). You can set any words and phrases you want to flag, good or bad, like “great,” “wonderful,” “I don’t know,” “who cares,” or even expletives! Then you can listen to the recordings of the flagged calls and either pat your employee on the back…or call a private meeting.

Millennials are a different customer group than motorcycle buyers of the past. By investing in services to better handle phone conversations, you can get them into your store quicker, and ultimately, back onto the road with their new bike.