Paying $8 An Hour For A $100 An Hour Job?

The telephone is one of the most powerful communication tools in the world--even today--yet many (most that I have experienced) dealerships treat the phone as a nuisance. The telephone has such power to bring income into the dealership and it is treated like it isn't really important. I don't understand it. It is one of my long time pet peeves.

The phone is worth at least $100 an hour or more in my mind and many dealers are only willing to pay $8 for the person answering it. Some even go below that by having an automated system! The automated system is the worst! I could understand it if it were a library or something like that, but an auto dealership? Just imagine a salesperson following up with a prospect (it could happen) and the prospect calls them back and gets the automated system. . . "please listen as our menu has recently changed. . . for service, press one. . . for parts, press two. . .for sales, press three. . ." Gag me. Automated systems are the worst for this kind of a business!

I just made a phone call to a large metropolitan dealership today to talk to the commercial truck manager and when I asked for him, the operator said that he was off today and so I said, "Thank you" and she said "goodbye." What is wrong with that conversation? This happens a lot and you can believe that it is not just happening to me. Since my name was never stated or even requested, she had no clue whatever who I was or why I was calling and did not even ask to give me to voice mail or take a message or anything. There goes a sale. . . again . . . and again. . . Who trains this person? Who supervises this person? Who believes the telephone in a large automobile dealership is an important part of their business? Not this dealer. . . or so it would seem. There is an ad in the paper with a phone number to call (they call them "phone ups") and then we give this treatment? Scary.

So dealers tell me business is slow. Well, now is a great time to give their business a bit of a tune up. What are we doing that is working? What are we doing that is not working? How is the phone being answered? Let's practice on the things that will improve our efficiency and profitability when the market comes back since we know up front it is a cyclical market. Let's make good use of the downtime and go back to class and improve. Makes sense to me.

Of course this is not just happening in the auto dealership. Yesterday, I called a client who we are building a website for. I'm calling for the owners son and I say, "Good morning, this is Terry with Upward Trend, is so and so available?", I hear a grunt on the other end and the answer, "No." I say, "Will he be in later?", they say, "I dunno." I say, "Thank you." I hear a click. Wow. This business gets almost all of their business via the phone. Now, that is scary. No, it's ridiculous!

How many times have you been put on hold and no one ever came back to you? You would think there is one person with 50 phone lines to answer or something. You're thinking, "pay attention to me, pay attention." Sometimes it is funny how much of a struggle it is to get through to someone even just to leave a voice mail message. I cannot count how many times I just hung up and didn't call back. It can be better. I know it can. It is a simple problem to fix. It's called training and paying attention to the front line. There are quite a number of ways to fix it such as books, seminars, consultants, etc. You can call us at Upward Trend Management Services and we can help as well. The number is 707-480-0959 for Ryan Stone or 707-434-9967 for Terry Minion.

I guess it remains that the telephone truly is a powerful tool. The question should be, "to build. . . or to destroy?" Which to choose. . . . hmmmmm? I choose to build. There's no time to lose. Now is the time to get going.

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