One of the most important points of interaction between the Service Advisor and the motorist is the initial conversation. It is designed to assure the first time customer that the shop is the best choice for solving their vehicle’s problem or performing a particular service. This conversation happens every day for each motorists looking for the best choice in auto repair all around the country. It makes the difference between a life long customer and one that is never coming to the shop. This conversation is so important that shop owners and service advisors should dedicate at least an hour a week to sit down and analyze the phone calls they had during the week to determine how to improve and implement best practices for future calls. Leveraging professional services like Jonny Wright’s Buyosphere.com can also help to more quickly and more effectively implement those best practices.
When the service advisor answers the phone, they first need to determine what type of call it is, or in other words, the goals the motorist. So, the first thing a service advisor should practice is to identify the type of call within the first 15 seconds. Depending on call type, the tone of the conversation can be very different and the priority of questions change. Once the service advisor consistently identifies the type of call, he should work to identify the important segments of each type of call. And then finally work on improving call quality for each different segment.
For example I have outlined a few of the segments for new prospective customers. Your may be different and you will want to create a similar list for how to approach current customers too.
When talking to potential customers the important segments are:
- What is their concern?
- What vehicle does the motorist drive?
- Can we solve their problem?
- What is their priority? (even if the shop can accomplish all of these things it is important to determine, what the most important is for the driver.)
- fast fix
- cost effective
- highest quality
- What is their timeline?
- When do they want to bring their car in?
- How knowledgeable are they about cars?
- How familiar are they with cars?
- Has anyone else tried to fix this issue?
Once you have answer all these questions, you should be able to make the decision to what degree they meet your customer profile. If they do you can apply different strategies to convince them that you are right choice.
How can Call Analytics help?
After you have identified the important segments of the call, you should record your phone calls. In many state you legally need to notify callers that their call is being recorded. But even if its not required it is always a good idea. Click here to see if your state requires two party consent for call recording.
Next, the shop owner and service advisors should go through the recorded phone calls and grade how well the call met your success criteria. Even better you can enlist the help of a phone call analysis expert. You can use school grades A-F or a scale from 1 to 10. Some phone recording software gives you the ability to add score cards to each phone calls. If yours doesn’t, you can also just use a spreadsheet with one column for date and time of call and columns for the different segments. Just check them off as you go.
After you have reviewed 15-20 calls, you should be able to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Write those down and then ask someone to listen to the same calls and ask their opinion on what your strengths and weaknesses are. Although awkward initially, listening to your own phone call recordings is proven to be one of the best methods for self directed learning. With weaknesses that match your list and the 3rd party, break down additional segments that will help you improve specific questions. Involve a reviewer of your analysis to make sure your self perception matches independent judgement. Raise your own awareness of the perceived weakness and then you can make the decision whether it is something you need to work or you are already at the level you are expected to be.
One of our customers, Bill Connor, General Manager of Craigs Car Care, has gone as far as making himself a 20 point questionnaire that he goes through with all of his service advisor’s phone calls and then scores them on all 20 questions. He also writes notes per call and then reviews the ones that stood out to him with the service advisors. These questions are based on the type of caller, and he has a questionnaire for each type of caller. Below you can see an example of his questionnaire for prospective customers..
Making the Most of your calls
Once you have identified the areas you need to work on, you need a strategy to tackle those them. Most will fall into a few categories. Here are are a few:
- The area of expertise needed to deal with the majority of phone calls
- Your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company and your shop have agreed on a certain web presence strategy so that a defined class of specialties will be asked for in the phone calls. You should be prepared for these calls. Ideally you are a subject matter expert in that specialty or service, but you can go a long way with a handful of educational bullet points.
- Make sure to ask for the important information
- The best thing is to enter the information in SmartFlow or your point of sale (POS) shopsystem as you are talking to the customer. then after the phone call review the information you entered and look for any potential of improvement for the next phone calls.
- Build a relationship with the motorist
- Try to collect important facts about their vehicle every time you talk with the motorist and understand why this motorist chose their vehicle car. This will determine the priorities
- Ask a selected group of callers how you are doing and repeat this exercise with the shop owner and trusted expert(s). Identifying the gap between your self perception and third party assessment will uncover habits you didn’t know you have and allows to eliminate or strengthen them.
This is a continuous process. And if you stick with it, you are guaranteed success. Once you have determined areas for refinement, keep adjusting the approach to your phone calls and analyze the outcome. You will see remarkable improvement in the success of your phone calls over time. . And by analyzing your conversion rates based on the segments you’ve listed, you will recognize improvements in customer approvals and in turn increased profits. Last but not least, you will enjoy success very quickly and gain the confidence to keep improving.