The debate between Alan Ram and Jerry Thibeau on Auto Dealer Live may have taken place several months ago but the issue of outsourcing call monitoring services to India as recommended by Jerry is still at large.
Jerry Thibeau subscribes to the use of agents in third world countries to monitor calls. He says if he can “take someone who is in…India and they speak fluent English and they understand the parameters of a phone call…[,]” the dealership could then use the information gained by the agent and be alerted to a “botched” opportunity.
This is a bad idea and if you think about it for a moment, you’ll understand why. Many customers set up appointments with salespeople and BDC agents simply because it’s the easiest way off the phone even though they have absolutely no intention of coming in. Contrary to popular belief, the goal of a sales call is not simply to set up an appointment. It’s to have the caller actually arrive at the dealership. With an appointment or without. How often does someone set up an appointment with a salesperson at a dealership and not show up? A manager who understands the nuances of the English language much more than someone who is in India or another third world country, will listen to the customers tone as well as voice inflection, and even though an appointment was set, would still know whether the customer actually intends on coming in. It’s easy to understand that you can much more accurately judge intent when you incorporate tone and voice inflection into the equation. That agent in India, or any other Third World country that Jerry Thibeau proposes, listen to your calls simply hears the word “appointment” and chalks it up as all good.
At a time where Americans need jobs, do we really want to be using companies that have agents based in India? It seems very unpatriotic at this point in history.
If you feel that someone in a Third World country, who’s second or third language is English, is as qualified to determine what opportunities were maximized as your managers, that’s a problem. Your managers need to be listening to all sales calls. There is no activity for your managers to be engaged in that is more productive or more relevant when it comes to selling cars today than listening to people who called your dealership and quickly resolving missed opportunities to do business. Think about it this way; no dealer would be okay with letting customers that arrive at the dealership get “blown out” left and right. Managers tend to be very aware of what is happening on their showroom floor. “Who’s with that person?” “Are we getting ready to write up that couple”? Customers that call up your dealership are every bit as important as someone on your showroom floor and just as worthy of a managers full attention. How easy is it for a manager to have call monitoring open on their desk throughout the day and listen to just the sales calls as they come in? How many sales calls do you really get on a daily basis? 10, 20 maybe 30? How many managers do you have on throughout the day? So at the end of the day, how many actual sales calls does a manager really have to listen to? They have the time. If not, they need to make time. It’s all about setting up priorities and this is a priority that directly relates to selling cars.
The activity of listening to sales calls needs to be carried out throughout the day. That customer that calls your dealership at 10 o’clock this morning may very well be out buying a car at 4 o’clock this afternoon. If we listen to the call this evening or the next morning, it’s going to be too late. Keeping call monitoring open on Sales Managers computers is a recommended best practice of top-performing dealerships. Another thing this accomplishes; when sales people know that they are being held accountable, the effort level naturally rises. They are being held accountable. It all goes hand-in-hand with training. If you don’t train them and then you just hold them accountable, all you’re going to hear is missed opportunities. Train your people and then hold your managers and sales staff accountable. When managers hear a call mishandled, they simply pick up the phone and help fix it. That’s part of being a manager as well, right?