Despite the increase in digital mediums for advertisements, calls to auto dealerships’ service departments have remained steady – and serve as the second most common form of initial contact with dealers.

While most dealers focus on bigger ticket items like new and used car sales, the service department should not be put on the back burner. The service department isn’t only a way to get new customers to your dealership, but also great retention and referral opportunities.

Recent inbound automotive call data published from a sampling of over 106 million phone calls over four years shows that over half (54%) of all inbound calls to automotive dealerships are revenue-winning opportunities.

Yet, this automotive data also shows that only 80% of Sales calls and 40% of Service calls are missed opportunities, meaning no appointment set.

You need to start dedicating time to phone handling skills for your dealership.

Here are four ways to start improving metrics and getting a higher ROI from your inbound calls.

Track and record employees’ phone calls for performance evaluation

Utilizing a call tracking service that records calls and delivers phone handler performance data will help you benchmark employees’ skills and set future KPI’s. Having real data to look at will aid in making smart decisions, rather than assuming that everything is running as planned.  When you are using analytics to determine phone performance, you can make an improvement plan to increase phone skills and set more appointments.

Have regular meetings with call handlers to review phone skills

One-on-one and team meetings are vital to check-in with employees and make sure that learned skills are being followed through with on all calls.

Use your call tracking data (if you have it) during meetings to help you see what points of the phone call employees are doing well on and determine areas for improvement to focus on in your scheduled meetings. Review areas that will help employees improve and book more service appointments.

Provide phone handlers with call cheat sheets and scheduling abilities

While phone scripts are helpful, you don’t want employees relying on a script during every call and sounding robotic or unnatural.

Create some cheat sheets for phone handlers to use on calls with key components of the phone call that will help them be successful in gaining the caller’s commitment to come to your dealership, rather than ending the call with the potential for them to call your competitor.

Cross-train employees for phone backup during busy times

There may be ebbs and flows in your dealership depending on the time of day, or day of week or month that are busier and make it difficult to have proper phone coverage with skilled employees.

Take time to train employees on how to properly handle inbound phone leads to help in these busy times when other salespeople may be busy on the phone or in person with a customer. You don’t want to miss a potential lead because you didn’t answer the phone.

You can start using these four tips listed above in your dealership right away. By keeping accountable and working on internal performance, you will improve your brand experience and increase ROI – start reaping the benefits now.