In December 2020—at the end of a truly landmark year—trade association giant Localogy affirmed that one-size-fits-all marketing had finally met its end. Going forward, dealers should not only understand how the pandemic and its results are affecting customer behavior, but they should also customize and personalize their marketing on a whole new level to accommodate the wide range of consumer reactions. Fortunately, solutions that had already proven to increase profitability pre-pandemic are proving to be remarkably suited to today’s new challenges. Case in point: call centers.
Using existing tools to meet new demands.
In 2019, MediaPost reported that in addition to prospective car buyers using the phone regularly to contact dealers, sales calls were actually converting to purchases four times more than emails on average. Just over a year later—on the cusp of the pandemic—emerging trends outlined by unified communications and collaboration (UCC) expert Mitel highlighted the ever-expanding technological advances that successful call centers were incorporating to meet evolving customer expectations. Now, even though car-shopping and buying processes continue to morph, those existing call center technologies have the flexibility to encompass ongoing changes without interruption.
For dealers, that means having the assurance that regardless of staff fluctuations or sudden scheduling disruptions, every caller will still be interacting with an engaging, knowledgeable representative. This is particularly crucial for younger purchasers, as the 18-34-year-old demographic now constitutes 1.3X the number of new-car buyers. Over the past year, many of these customers navigated their first-ever car-buying experience without setting foot in a dealership.
Equally important, a call center ensures that each call is instantly routed to the right person or team. According to a recent report by Google Marketing Platform, consumer demand for immediate assistance has escalated. With pandemic-related shortages has come reduced brand loyalty. And brands that don’t connect with shoppers when they’re interested and actionable face losing those potential sales to competitors.
Breaking routine to drive best results.
We’ve established that a full-service call center brings various advantages to help cater to customers, grow loyalty, and maximize profitability. Aside from handling inbound and outbound calling for both the Sales and Service Departments, they can also work with dealers to create customized call campaigns that align with their specific goals. But to help ensure the most success in the long term, it’s key for dealers to develop and maintain a collaborative, evolving, and results-based partnership with a call center team.
From time to time, dealerships and call centers get into a pattern. For example, salespeople may be required to make 25 calls before they can take an up. To meet these requirements, they’re calling the same people at the same time every day. However, if even a portion of those 25 customers were not available at that time yesterday—they likely won’t be available at that same time today.
Using heat reports to identify your most effective call schedule.
Perhaps some of the most valuable benefits a call center can provide is in-depth data on any successes or missed opportunities. By having access to the right info, dealers can consistently pivot their strategy for the best results. The most skillful call centers can deliver this information in an easy-to-use format, such as heat reports. Like how heat maps help users see which components of their website are driving the most engagement from visitors, caller heat reports give insight on the best days—and hours—in which the most responses were gathered. This could include metrics such as the call disconnect rate, canceled appointment rate, lead rate, new appointment rate, hot alert rate, and much more.
Fostering an ever-changing strategy with call center solutions doesn’t have to be difficult—and it doesn’t mean you can’t establish a new routine. Checking caller data daily, weekly, monthly, and even quarterly can help dealers optimize call times and targets on the fly for the highest ROI and best use of employee time.
Key takeaway: connect with customers when they’re most likely to respond.
The 2020 pandemic brought an unprecedented change in customer preferences and behavior. To make the rapid shifts needed to sustain profitability while promoting customer and employee safety, a dealer’s marketing should be more personalized and customized than ever. Call centers shine as a leading example of a proven solution that continues to help mitigate all the challenges of doing business during this difficult time. From routing calls to the right staff to enabling an expert team to handle any other calls in between, a professional automotive call center gives dealers the cutting-edge digital technology and detailed reporting needed to adapt to ever-changing preferences while driving maximum efficiency and profitability.
Interested in learning more? Affinitiv’s Call Center will drive sales and service appointments, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, profit.
Sales | September 10, 2021