Owner Statement:My marketing isn’t working!
Short answer……. HOW DO YOU KNOW?!
You see, there is more to analyzing marketing than just looking at who and what came in the door! The other element is when the marketing worked and the customer called us, did we do a good job getting them to our facility. We could have the best slogan, an unbelievable visual presence, or maybe even the best offers in the country and if we didn’t do a good job when the potential customer called us, they may never make it in the door, AND most Point of Sale (POS) systems wouldn’t track that. In many cases the only tracking is how many customers came in off of this or that marketing venture.
Before we get into this article though, let’s quickly talk about what our marketing should do for us. Does our marketing bring vehicles to us? Short answer; NO! Marketing in its most basic sense only makes the phone ring, and then it is the job of whoever answers the phone to get the caller/vehicle in the door! They do this through multiple methods; they start or continue building a relationship with the customer, they educate the customer AND THEY SHOULD ALWAYS BE HELPFUL!! The last one is a key element in converting marketing calls to customers in the doors. Remember, most people don’t budget nor really ever expect that their vehicle will let them down, and although we may have seen whatever went wrong with their vehicle a 100 times, they haven’t, so be patient, empathetic, listen to them and above all, be helpful. Lastly remember their REAL issue is probably NOT that their vehicle let them down as much as it is they were going somewhere when it did, so help them fix that issue first! Whether it is getting them a rental car arranged or a ride to where they were going, taking care of this one step will go a long way towards taking the pain away from their day and start the relationship building on the right foot. That is why we market, to make the phone ring!!
This is where it is so important to not only know how many calls came in from what marketing source, but to also know how many were converted into true customers that showed up at the counter. If you don’t have the availability to track all of these numbers, you might just be guessing as to whether or not your marketing is working, and guessing isn’t a good metric from which to work with. If you are going to spend money, and in most cases a lot of money we MUST be able to see all of these numbers!! Secondly, to be able to analyze the numbers to see what actually worked (made the phone ring) and what didn’t. Look for POS (point of sale) systems or other companies systems that integrate with your POS system that allow you to not only see the number of calls that came in and the number of calls that were converted, but also give you the ability to listen to those calls! Again, without those abilities, you may simply be throwing money away because you are guessing at what is working!
When we speak about listening to phone calls we also need to keep in mind that even the best Service Advisor may sound terrible on the phone, and be advised, you might want to fire even the best of them! Listening to calls is a tricky thing sometimes, and when you start you MUST keep in mind that this is a tool, a way to train and hopefully make them better at bringing the customer in! Whether you choose to listen with your Service Advisor or, choose to allow them to listen alone, your facility will benefit. But note if allowed to listen alone, they may not always recognize what they are saying wrong because they have been saying it that way for a long time. This is where it becomes important to listen together, and again remember……this should be considered a training tool! I have heard some of the best advisors fail and wanted to fire them on the spot, but instead took the time to retrain and ended up with even better sales, along with a better customer experience, so work with them!
Consider this as you work with your Service Team, try having them visualize themselves talking to the person on the other end of the phone just like they do when in person. Teach them to read people over the phone through audible queues, not visual ones. These queues start with qualifying questions like, “have we seen your vehicle before, or when was the last time we serviced your vehicle?” Don’t forget the biggest qualifiers of all, “Lets schedule you an appointment that works for you” Give them 2 options for time and day, BUT only 2! If you ask early and ask often (up to 4 times) and they are still talking or asking questions, one of two things has gone wrong, you are either not doing a good job in educating them as to why you really can’t help them over the phone (by diagnosing without seeing the vehicle, or giving them a price on something you haven’t seen), or they are simply going to waste your time until they get an answer……one that until you can see their vehicle, you shouldn’t answer! Everyone has or should have their own way of qualifying a customer, if you don’t you need to ask someone for help because this step is critical in being a profitable automotive repair facility in the 21th century!!
Finally, as we speak about teaching, learning and education, remember that everyone needs to continue to educate themselves and their team, or you along with your business may go stagnant and the way of the phone booth!!