An Answer to Declined Services
Just because the customer denies a repair the first time, doesn’t mean he or she might not change their mind after leaving the shop. Following the service advisor’s sell, it’s up to the service department to re-pitch the repair later on for the customer.
For Kathy Kelley, business development center manager of Hiley Automotive Group, in Fort Worth, Texas, her staff of six work directly with contacting customer’s regarding declined services. In order to determine the length of time it’s been since a customer visited, Kelley says customers are separated into “campaigns,” which are code-based on the time it’s been since he or she has been in for service: MR1—customers due for service and haven’t been in for three to six months; M2—seven to nine months; M3—10 to 12 months, and M4—customers haven’t been in over 12 months.
According to Kelley, her call center staff tends to the auto group’s 13 (soon to be 14) dealerships. Prior to having a process, Kelley’s staff relied solely on individuals in contrast to having everything in one place.
While the campaign method helps organize customers by timeframe, other procedures, such as scripts and bulk-emailing, have proved to be beneficial for the auto group.
Lacking Efficient Organization
Without a firm process set in stone, Kelley found that reaching customers who previously declined services was nearly impossible. For Kelley’s call center, all information regarding declined services was left up to the service advisors. If service advisors didn’t provide enough notes regarding the customer, the call center often didn’t know what was and wasn’t covered during the customer’s last visit.
“We were pretty much in the hands of the advisors, hoping they put all of the comments in there that they were supposed to, but we had nothing in place to make outbound calls specifically for declined services,” Kelley says. “The only thing that we had to go off of were our RO reports, which some weren’t really reports. We had no outbound structure whatsoever for them, so we solely relied on inbound calls to look at the RO history to see if there were any declined services.”
In addition, the call center solely relied on inbound calls, which were often unprofessional as a script was not put in place.
“We didn’t have scripting for it; we didn’t have anything,” Kelley says. “[We would call and say], ‘Hey, we see you didn’t have this done the last time, do you want to get it done?’ It was pretty unprofessional. It’s harder without the scripting in place.”
Finding A Balance
In October 2017, Hiley Automotive Group purchased Xtime, a multi-point inspection tool that also implemented two programs that catered to the sales department: Xtime Schedule and Xtime Inspect.
“I remember my contact invite manager called and told me he was very excited and had the best news in the world,” Kelley says. “He was right; that’s when they advised me that they had set up the integration to be able to pull the declined service reports from the DMS and to include them as a separate campaign.”
With the new change, her staff was able to pull declined services information from the DMS separately and begin putting those into separate call campaigns.
“It sends emails out for us in bulk. After three to seven days, they’ll send the emails [to customers], and then the 15-day mark [after they declined the services] is when we pick up and call the customer,” Kelley says.
Now, instead on shifting through service advisor notes about a customer, the program offers a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” option in regard to if a customer declined a service. All declined services are then grouped together in one campaign, Kelley says, and the information is then assigned to Kelley’s business development representatives staff members who make the calls.
“They just have to go in, click their declined services, click their name and go straight to the campaign,” Kelley says.
The system has helped prepare callers as they are able to easily identify what a customer specifically declined, Kelley says, which makes their calls more straightforward and organized.
“I think with the integration between Xtime Inspect and Xtime Invite, our scripts function in a dynamic way that allows us to see the not only the customer’s specific information in the script, but we can also see exactly what the customer declined, the date it was declined and the price that was associated with each declined service right there in the script,” Kelley says. “This makes it much easier and more efficient as, before that, we had to rely on a manual process to get this information to us instead of everything being automated.”
Kelley has seen an improvement in how her staff members handle addressing declined sales.
“My team’s work performance in regard to declined services has proven to be extremely successful,” Kelley says.
Reaching New Heights
Since utilizing the program, the call center has set roughly 385 declined service appointments over the course of a month, according to Kelley.
“We estimate each RO to be approximately $250 minimum, meaning we would have lost out on about $96,000 in a 30-day period had we not had this declined services method set up,” he says.
According to Kelley, the program has been a complete game changer for the call center.
“It’s been a huge help and I do appreciate that it’s been even put into play for us,” Kelley says. “I think that our customers appreciate it also and I think it helps get them back into Hiley because it shows that we care that their vehicle is out there and that they’re safe.
“I think that’s why they keep coming back to us.”