In listening to a few calls to a marine dealer client of mine I heard this call from a customer that had left a message for sales the prior day and had not receive a return call. On this call, the caller asks for sales again and gets transferred straight to voicemail. The caller presses 0 and returns to operator where he was greeted with a polite "Thank you for calling, how may I direct your call?" at which point the caller says “Can you transfer me somewhere where someone actually answers?”
The operator explained that it is a busy day in the store and to please hold while she finds an available sales agent. Less than a minute later, the caller hung up on hold. He did not call back a 3rd time.
Let's consider ujet's facts and figures about the Voice of the Caller (VoC) and Zenith Dealer Solutions' Three "Must Have" Phone Skills for Dealership Employees.
Must Have Phone Skill 1: Understanding How to Make a Connection
ujet, very much aligned with Google's recent study shows that 80% of boat buyers will call the dealership prior to coming to the store. Callers do not like IVR's and guess what? They expect good customer service... they are calling to buy a boat!
Making a connection quickly over the phone is critical for sales advisers and receptionists answering first time dealership customer calls (hint: listen for callers asking about a boat as opposed to a sales person by name). Your caller has questions and we must answer them to the best of our ability. But to make a connection we need to ask questions. Elevating questions help us understand how to make their boat buying experience and boating experience better.
Must Have Phone Skill 2: Showing Empathy
In our opening story, our receptionist was polite, and attentive to the customers needs to talk with a sales associate. Where she missed was expressing empathy. Easier said than done on when the store and switchboard are busy but a must do. In fact, callers do not care about the behind the scenes situation like the store being busy. Sharing this information is asking the caller for empathy.
“Can you transfer me somewhere where someone actually answers?”
A quick personal comment like "I am so sorry. I get so frustrated when I call businesses and can't get the right person on the line. May I have you name and number so that if I can't get you connected now I can have someone call you back as their next action?" a simple empathetic comment followed with a simple offer communicates to the caller that you are listening to them and with listening comes care.
Must Have Phone Skill 3: Performing Service Recovery
Back to some ujet stats and Zenith Dealer Solutions trend reporting that customer expectations have changed. The extraordinary is the new ordinary. If you are offering the same caller experience that you offered 10 years ago, you are losing customers and market share.
Fortunately in today's world, technologies like machine call monitoring enable you to find needles in a haystack like customer service concerns so you may perform customer recovery. Going back to our opening call example, our client was alarmed to this call and caller and called the customer back. They showed empathy on the return call. They made a connection on the return call. And then they began service recovery by solving the problem and closing the loop on the customers needs.
Share this blog and incorporate these three must have phone skills in your dealership. A best practice is to use these three skills as questions during your interview process. Tell me about a time where you had to show empathy toward a customer. Here's to a better CallerCX.