Improving inbound phone calls equals greater profits – David Lewis

On today’s show we’re pleased to welcome back David Lewis, President and CEO of David Lewis and Associates and the Host of CBT’s show, Straight Talk, to talk to us about inbound phone calls into the service department and how you could be losing revenue.

“One of the most important things that they have to understand is that in today’s environment, 99% of all customer-pay revenue starts with an inbound phone call.”

David says the reasons customers calling can range from inquiring about pricing, diagnosing a problem over the phone, and assessing a dealer to see if they want to choose them. How the customer’s call is handled, he believes, is the top problem dealers need to address.

The service department has been in the spotlight at an increased level since the pandemic began, and fielding their calls is an issue of customer satisfaction as well as a revenue driver. Service advisors are too busy to spend the necessary time on each inbound call. But many dealers who’ve tried a service BDC in the past lost out on price shoppers when they were simply quoted menu prices.

With properly trained BDC staff, service departments can profit from the multitude of inbound service calls. David identifies key questions BDC staff can ask to expand on the call rather than quoting a price, with the intention of setting an appointment.

Rather than retaining customers by using easy questions to set appointments, dealers are losing out to independent and tire shops. David is quick to mention that some dealerships are thriving and have a process in place that works. But for others who closely watch the numbers and are “tracking their inbound phone calls and asking themselves, ‘We got 50 inbound calls today and only set three appointments,’ there’s something wrong and it needs to be addressed.”

The service lane is a key contact point for hundreds of customers, and investing in training for fixed operations is crucial. David advises general managers to spend time as a service advisor and to bring up new staff through fixed operations to learn valuable skills.

Did you enjoy this interview with David Lewis? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.