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Why Voice Technology is the Next Big Thing for Your Service Department

Why Voice Technology is the Next Big Thing for Your Service Department
August 30, 2021

Are you interested in success or committed to it? It’s likely we think we’re committed, but as the saying goes “actions speak louder than words.” I’m thinking specifically about the fact that the majority of dealers don’t answer 3 out of 10 inbound service calls. 

Really think about that: 30 percent of people never connect. And studies show 68 percent of those failed calls never call back! They move on to the next shop. A dealer committed to success and a great customer experience makes sure every service call is answered. The best new way to get 100 percent connectivity is with a Digital Voice Assistant (DVA). 

Today’s DVAs function and sound just like humans. Skeptical? Go request something of Alexa or your Google Home. They are also DVAs and a lot of us trust them to order groceries or make sure the front door’s locked. Likewise, you can trust a DVA to answer 100 percent of inbound service calls and give your customers a great experience. 

I can hear some of you saying, “Sounds interesting, but we want that human-to-human touch.” Well great, but what are you going to do about your 30 percent call fail rate? If you’re truly concerned about the customer experience, answer the phone. 

DVA connects the problem of missed calls, and the staffing challenges that commonly cause the problem, with an affordable and efficient solution that makes calling your store a great experience so you set the next appointment and start the long-term relationship.  

Instead of hiring more staff, a DVA allows you to reduce staff for bottom line savings, or reallocate resources for proactive growth. Here’s how it works with the most common service operations models:

Service Advisor

You’ve got your SAs in charge of answering phones, but they’re often already on the phone or busy with customers in front of them. A DVA picks up every call, answers routine questions such as hours of operation, and easily sets appointments in as few as three minutes due to integration with your scheduling tool. Calls that are not appointable – such as a parts inquiry – are quickly transferred to the correct person in your store. As a result, SAs spend more time with customers in your drive, upselling service, and making everyone more money. Not to mention, they’re less overwhelmed. 

Internal BDC

You’ve heard the saying “the two-legged expense is the greatest expense,” and it’s especially applicable to BDC employees. People don’t grow up saying “I want to work in a call center.” They are on their way to something better. For that reason, and the relatively low pay, we see a lot of tardiness, sick days, compliance issues, and other HR headaches that contribute to failure. A DVA never complains, never misses work, and handles calls more efficiently. You can reduce your staff while still meeting customer demand. Alternatively, repurpose staff to areas normally neglected like outbound calls to your database, first maintenance calls, and manufacturer recalls. Your BDC has the time to proactively bring back customers which drives today’s revenue, but also revenue moving forward. 

Hybrid BDC

If you’re outsourcing inbound call handling to an external BDC you’re paying on average $1 to $1.25 per minute an agent is on a call, plus typically an appointment show bonus. Obviously a DVA does not earn bonuses. This leads to significant savings, especially if you’re running a high-volume shop. As an example, I talked to a dealer who routinely offered free oil changes to get customers in for service. BDC agents regularly scheduled upwards of 50 oil changes a day, for which he paid an hourly rate plus $2 show bonus. Because the customer was calling to schedule, his show rate was around 95 percent. He was paying $100 every day just in bonuses on the simplest call in the world. A DVA immediately cut out that cost, with no negative effect to the customer. 

Committing to success means putting your money where your mouth is and giving your service customers a great experience every time – that starts with answering your phones. We have it within us as an industry to embrace exciting, new ideas like DVAs, and reimagine service operation models to treat our customers like they matter; because they do. 

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Lawson Owen is the founder and CEO at Proactive Dealer Solutions. He is a thought leader in lead and process management and has been inspiring management teams for over 20 years. Lawson has helped to implement more than 4,000 business development centers throughout the US and Canada.