How AI Can Improve Your Dealership’s Call Center Practices – Mike Haeg

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On today’s show, CBT’s Bridget Fitzpatrick discusses how artificial intelligence is improving call center practices with Mike Haeg, Vice President of Automotive at Car Wars. The pair also discuss the problems facing dealers in their call centers, as well as incorporating a CRM into the phone sales process.

call center practicesVIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 

Bridget Fitzpatrick: Thanks so much for joining us on CBT Mike.

Mike Haeg: Yeah, thanks for having me here as always.

Bridget Fitzpatrick: Absolutely. Now, can you talk to us about some of the common problems that dealers are facing with managing their call centers?

Mike Haeg: Yeah, absolutely. You know, this will come as no surprise to anyone but for us, it usually starts with managers just don’t have enough time to invest and listening to as many phone calls as they possibly can. They just don’t have the resources or the time to do that. So, we’re starting with, kind of, a gap of what’s actually happening on the phone, we just don’t know. After that, I like to say, especially with call centers or BDC, there’s kind of two things: There’s, we’re lacking insight before and during the call of actually happening, so we often don’t know who this customer is, why they’re calling, where they’re calling from. Kind of, in that moment, do we know about the customer to give a good experience? And then after the fact, are we logging that opportunity and do we know what’s actually happening after the phone call as well? So, we’re, kind of, missing both data about the phone caller before and during the call, and then also kind of missing some operational efficiencies as well. And what we’re finding is dealerships realize they need this stuff, and they need it fast because these phone calls are so valuable, expensive and important.

Bridget Fitzpatrick: Right. Now, what are the best ways to incorporate a CRM into the phone process?

Mike Haeg: Yeah, I think, I’d recommend two things. So one … Well three things really: one, just start integrating your phone calls into the CRM, we’ve got to get those inbound and outbound calls into our CRMs. So, that’s just a bare minimum requirement. The second thing I recommend is simple repeatable processes, right? We’ve got a lot going on, we know these phone calls are valuable, what are the two to three things that I should be doing every day in my CRM when it comes to the phones?

So, one good example is a lot of CRMs have some sort of phone bucket or desk log, or call tracker log or phone calls. The one thing I should do every day is make sure that’s cleared out and those leads are assigned, for example. That one thing that we do every day is a tremendous and easy way to find low hanging fruit and valuable sales opportunities right there in our CRM. And the third thing outbound, outbound, outbound, you’ve got to be using an outbound, dialing outbound click-to-call program to get those calls into CRM for accountability and just, kind of, liability sake just so that we know we’re calling our customers back.

Bridget Fitzpatrick: Sure. Now, how is AI improving phone processes and CRM integration?

Mike Haeg: Well, I think there’s two ways, I think it’s helping the customer, the caller, as well as the dealership. So, let’s start with the caller first. We’re seeing that dealerships they’re using, you know, AI, or using, kind of, enhanced phone solutions to help them understand and manage their phone calls: they’re having better color experiences.

So, service callers are getting sent to service faster and easier, which is what they want. Maybe you’re returning a call to a salesperson and you’re getting routed directly to that salesperson immediately. You know, maybe you have a frustrated caller, and that could normally slip through the cracks. Let’s say a really angry call about something, that might slip through the cracks and a manager would never know about it. Now, using, you know, AI and, kind of, language detection, we can sniff out those frustrated callers and call them back, and make sure they’re happy and make sure they have a good experience. And the customers are having a better experience and then, of course, so are the dealers.

They’ve got better data, more meaningful data, it’s still simple, it’s still really valuable low hanging fruits, because we know who’s calling, why or we can call those customers back as quickly as possible. We can detect if they’re happy, sad, frustrated, we can look for keywords when they’re in the conversation. So, I think, both sides are really benefiting from these tools.

Bridget Fitzpatrick: Sure. Now, we’ve heard that AI will eventually replace all the workers in the call center, do you believe that to be the case and why or why not?

Mike Haeg: I’ve got good news for our call center workers, I don’t believe that to be the case. Here’s what I do believe the case to be, our workers are going to be, and they’re going to be expected to be, more sophisticated and better at handling these inbound calls. We just have to be, we have to be using this technology, and we have to be using the data to get better at handling the calls. And the data is there, it’s available. The workers just, you know, we say workers but these are people that are on the phone and they’re the front lines of talking to customers, how valuable is that?

So no, I don’t think anybody is getting replaced, but I think we’re going to get smarter and better about getting calls to these people, to these phone handlers: better, smarter, faster, so that’s the example I gave a second ago. Hey, let’s get a service call to a service handler, that’s a good way to do it. Let’s make sure that that service handler knows who the customer is when they’re on the phone.

So, I don’t think we’re going to be replacing anybody soon, but I think the operational efficiencies and data are going to create an expectation that we’ve got to be more streamlined and better at the phone because our competitors are doing it, so we got to do it too.

Bridget Fitzpatrick: Right. Well, good news there. Well, Mike, thanks so much for joining us on CBT today, we appreciate it, we look forward to talking with you again soon.

Mike Haeg: Thanks so much.

This has been a JBF Business Media Production.

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