Every interaction you have with a customer has an impact on your bottom line and the reputation of your dealership. Whether that touch point takes place on digital channels or via direct customer interaction, you have the potential for increased business. With the recent year of COVID, dealers have certainly felt the lack of a physical presence in the showroom, making alternate communication methods the premium choice.

While many have invested in chatbot technology and even relied on emailing, customer phone calls continue to offer the most return on investment. A recent Salesforce study showed that telephone outreach outperformed email outreach by a significant stretch, with the telephone converting at a rate of 8.21% compared to an email conversion rate of 0.03%.

But, outreach isn’t the only area where the telephone is excelling. In fact, Deloitte reports that 92% of customer interactions are still taking place over the phone. With traffic of that volume, you need to understand what’s offering you the most return on your investment

To get a full picture of your telephone efforts, you need to analyze both your inbound calls and your outbound calls using multiple metrics—connection, the number of times a phone representative asks the caller to make an appointment, appointments set, the no-show rate for appointments and sales metrics.

The ROI of Inbound Sales Calls

Your inbound calls vary in nature because they signify the outreach of the customer. These are not random individuals who are seeking information. They have already progressed enough along the customer journey to know that they need your services and have taken the first step of contacting you. This first outreach is an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition.

The ROI of Inbound Service Calls

The Service call, while it feels different, have very similar KPIs but a much higher success rate on average. The reason is that customers are calling with very specific purpose and there are far less variables. While in a Sales call a customer may want to talk about monthly payments, down payments and values of trade, they may also want to talk about vehicle features and availability. The purpose of the Service call is more exact. They typically want to achieve one of three goals: Status check, Service Concern (to progress to
appointment) and setting an appointment.

This underlines the need to be able to measure Service opportunity calls versus just Service calls. From there, if they connect at the same rate as an average Dealer (62%) then what we see if the higher the connection rate-the higher the net affect is in results. Connectivity affects Service business much more so than sales, at a lower dollar per transaction value.

The ROI of Outbound Calls

Outbound calls differ from inbound because this involves staff outreach to customers who may or may not be in need of your services. If you’re cold calling, your recipient likely hasn’t even entered into the customer journey. If you’re taking advantage of Internet leads, you know they have begun some research, but may not have progressed much further or have any intention of acting on that information yet. Even so, outbound calls offer the potential for ROI. Let’s break it down.

These rates can vary significantly from dealer to dealer. Understanding your metrics and which factors impact those numbers can boost your ROI significantly. For example, here are some areas to target when looking to boost your ROI.

  • Performing Phone Health Checks, routing calls more efficiently, and utilizing text messaging can make remarkable improvements to your connectivity rates.
  • Improving phone training processes can elevate your appointment rates.
  • Refining your processes will lead to more closes.

Altogether, these combined factors help you cultivate a better customer experience and win a loyal customer.

While this may seem like a lot to undertake, you can easily boost your ROI with some simple process changes. For instance, providing clear guidelines to your phone staff can help you more accurately measure, evaluate, and improve the performance of
your calls. Make sure you inform your staff:

  • How many calls they are required to make per day.
  • How you will be measuring their progress. For example:
    • Are you only measuring calls between 9-5?
    • If so, which time zone should they adhere to?
    • Will you be taking a weekly average or looking at
      each day?
    • If weekly, which days signify the beginning and the
      end of each period?
  • How often outbound calls should be made to new clients and how often they should be contacting existing customers.
  • When they are required to leave a voicemail and what information a message should contain.
  • What time of day they should be targeting for different groups of customers. For example:
    • Which personas prefer daytime calls?
    • Which personas prefer evening calls?
    • Which personas should be contacted on the
  • How to modify their approach based on the call’s purpose. What should the script look like if they are:
    • Following up on a service appointment
    • Requesting a customer set an appointment
    • Connecting with new buyers
    • Calling to offer a look at a new product or offering
  • How to appropriately handle difficult customers

To truly see an increase in the ROI of your calls, you need to set expectations and then measure the outcomes. Each of the above areas is an opportunity for improvement and every small enhancement you make has the potential to earn your dealer more business. If you understand your team’s skills and allows leadership to continually focus on improving your processes, you will create deeper relationships with your team, connect with more customers, and help to build the future leaders of the automotive industry.

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