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Phone Calls Can Be Goldmines

By Gary Graves
CTO, InterActiveTel

If silence is golden, then conversation is platinum, and it pays to listen to what shoppers and customers tell you — even down to the specific words they use.

After all, a conversation is a dialogue and not a monologue. And today, thanks to the long-reach of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile phones, it has never been easier to stay in touch with your customers — whether they're still prospects looking to make their first purchase or long-standing customers calling about a support issue. 
But now there's a twist. A recent Ad Age story, published in its February 13, 2017 issue, highlights a sharp jump in phone calls made to businesses. That's right, old-fashioned phone calls are making a comeback.

Of course, consumers are still going online to research their next purchase — to do their own comparison shopping, if you will. They're still doing all the usual online activities. But when it comes time to make a decision, they increasingly prefer to place a phone call instead of simply fill out a Web form or click on links. They want to talk to — or text with — another person.

That's great news for dealers because these calls represent an immediate opportunity to either make a sale or improve customer satisfaction, or sometimes both.

Consider a typical support call. If you're using a sentiment analysis or keyword-spotting monitoring program, for instance, you could transcribe the phone call in near-real time and look for pre-defined trigger words or phrases, such as “frustrated” or “unhappy” or “talk to the manager.”

If you can capture what they're saying and transcribe the conversation as it takes place, you are in a much stronger position to be proactive. The appropriate supervisor or manager can be notified whenever your pre-selected trigger words or phrases appear. Action can be taken now instead of next month. 

The same word analysis approach can work for phone calls made to your sales department. The truth is, when people take the time to contact you, it's usually both important and time-critical. In such situations, words matter.

The Ad Age story also noted how spending on mobile click-to-call technology continues to increase. But click-to-call is only half the story. You may also want to invest in a cloud-based call tracking and analysis solution to help you better understand the purpose — and opportunity — of each call.

Listening is a smart business habit, to be sure, but how and when you react to what they tell you is what matters most; as we all know, actions speak louder than words. And, if you know how to analyze their words correctly, it's easier to implement a successful action plan. 

When you strip away all the Websites and online demo videos, selling cars is still a people-selling-to-people business. Today, more than at any time in automotive history, consumers are car savvy. They know what they want and are not afraid to ask for it. This means when they call or text your dealership — and they will — it pays to listen carefully. They will tell you exactly want you need to do to sell them a vehicle or how to deliver on a service promise to earn their loyalty. Word for word.

Gary Graves will be a featured presenter at the TIADA Annual Conference & Expo, July 23 - 25, 2017 in San Anotonio. Register for your spot today!

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