Caller ID was created to make everyone’s lives easier. Sometimes in a dealership setting, it does, especially when a customer has a thick accent or a hard time remembering their phone number. Other times (98% of the time), the caller ID is the communication killer that staff should avoid at all costs.
Why is caller ID a communication killer? We have all heard the saying, “Assuming just makes an ass out of you and me;” well, the caller ID information being accurate is an assumption that we should never make! Too many times, we hear associates regurgitating the caller id information on their screen and the customer needing to correct them or, worse, agreeing and then the information isn’t correct. It is not a reliable source of accurate information, and we should be working to communicate with our customers to retain their contact information through verbal communication ALWAYS. We want our customers to provide their information with every call interaction willingly. That is how we know we are creating a valuable customer experience and crucial customer relationships.
The other topic that goes along with caller ID is assuming the customer knows or doesn’t know where the dealership is located. This is a topic to be openly discussed with the customer. When the sales associate assumes the customer is unaware of the dealer’s location and just blurts out an address, it doesn’t benefit anyone. It wastes time during the call, and anyone can throw an address out there; however, if the customer knows the dealer’s location, it’s a waste of time; if the customer doesn’t know the dealer’s location, the physical address doesn’t mean too much either. We should be having the conversation with the customer and using local landmarks and easily notable visual cues to give directions when the customer needs it. And confirming they truly know is an absolute best practice. There is nothing worse than making it through the entire call with clear communication and insulting the customers intelligence by blurting an address out at them without confirming that the customer needs it or not. This is especially present with the customers caller ID shows something other than a local area code and the associate is assuming what they know about the customer.
So how can we adjust and make sure that our communication is solid? Ensure that there’s a system in place that gives our associate a sure-fire way to secure correct customer contact information from the start. That system should guide the associate through the entire call, keeping that communication clear, informative, and efficient. When an associate (sales or service) has a system that keeps the call flowing and communication crystal clear throughout, then there is little margin for error. When that happens, our customer service is top notch and that should be our goal for every interaction. We should be asking direct questions, listening to the customer, and engaging further from there. When we are truly engaged, we will always be providing better service. Moral of the story is, collect customer information verbally and always confirm that the customer is aware of dealer location before giving them landmark directions.
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