One of the most common complaints from shop owners is the need for more customers and more cars. Shop owners spend their hard earned money on a multitude of marketing ideas but they forget to focus on the most important part of the marketing process. The idea behind all of this marketing is to get the phone to ring; a customer calling to ask for your services. Few shop owners spend the time needed to develop the proper system for answering the phone. Fewer still measure the effectiveness of the employees that are answering the phone and have tools in place to gauge how many incoming calls result in the customer coming into your shop. There have been many variations on this theme, but let’s look at this problem from another point of view and keep it as simple as possible. After all, when the phone rings, you should be hearing the cash register ringing even louder.
The success or failure of most tasks that take place in the average shop can be broken down to the effectiveness of three basic areas: Motivation, Measurability, and Accountability. Motivation needs to be looked at from both sides of the equation. The employee’s motivation to answer the phone and the customer’s motivation to come to your shop after the phone call is done.
As a public school boy, without the great resources to draw on that many of you might have had, I soon learned to rely on experience to be my major guide. At times, however, I would listen to my Dad and save myself some pain. We did a fair amount of fishing together and the lessons learned became invaluable. One of the first lessons was to think like a fish. What is the motivation of the fish? (My Dad would never have said anything like that; his motivation usually involved some sort of pain. Either a gentle slap in the back of the head or it was self-inflicted due to some oversight on my part that he allowed.). The fish just wants what he wants, the worm.
We all know why the owner wants the person on the phone to come to his shop, but why does the employee? It might be financial reward, the sense of accomplishment or just a little bit of praise for having a good day. Each individual is different and it is important that we are intimately aware of how our staff perceives their role in the workplace and what motivates them to do it. Otherwise you might find that you are fishing with the wrong bait. Find the right bait and you will be successful. The customer is a different story. Many times, if they are calling the shop and have never been there before, their motivation could be that they have already been to another shop and did not make the purchase (this could be due to a lack of trust, the amount of the purchase, maybe they just didn’t like them) or perhaps they do not have a shop to call “Home”. The resulting calls are at the least, an inconvenience, and for a good many people it can be almost painful to sit down and make all those calls and talk to all of those people. What do we do about it? What does the fish want, a nice juicy worm in his belly. It makes him feel good. What does the prospective customer want? What will make him feel good? How about not having to make all those calls? They want someone to listen to them. They need to feel like a person and they need to interact with another person on the other end of the phone who cares.