Managers at Bill Penney Toyota, in Huntsville, Ala., thought they were using top telecommunications technology. But a little more than three years ago, they got a shock when customer satisfaction reviews started to show otherwise.
"We were getting blown up with "Nobody would return my calls' and "You missed the sale' and "All I wanted was to talk to a service adviser and get an oil change price!'" recalled CFO Ryan Hensley.
Hensley's research showed the problems started with the phone system. "We couldn't blame it on our people because they were just trying to satisfy the customer in front of them at the time."
Bill Penney Toyota, about 100 miles north of Birmingham, Ala., had an antiquated phone system that limited the operator's ability to transfer callers to a staff member without putting the caller on hold, sometimes for long periods. It was dinging service revenue, new- and used-vehicle sales and customer satisfaction reviews.
So starting in 2014, Hensley overhauled the dealership's telecommunications. The result is better customer retention and satisfaction scores and gains in profits.
"We were on the defensive trying to answer calls," said Hensley in a pensive Southern drawl. "Today, we're on the offensive. We averaged, last year, over 6,000 outbound calls to get customers into our shop and we cut our advertising budget in the service department because we have people now actively pursuing our customers."