One of the most common questions we get asked by our automotive manufacturer clients is “Which is the best method to follow-up customer sales leads”. The answer is, use the phone!

This is often followed by “Should I use a call centre to contact leads or send them to our Dealers to follow-up?”.

So here are our thoughts on the positives and negatives of contact centre follow-up activity compared to lead follow-up by Dealers.

The first thing we need to understand from a client is “What are you trying to achieve?”. It is really important that businesses know exactly what they expect from any follow-up activity. Some manufacturers across different markets use contact centres because they are persistent and work well with a script. So if you want to follow-up a lead really quickly, establish your customer’s desire to make a purchase and qualify their needs, this is a good route. Many brands use contact centres for exactly this reason, and once the lead is fully qualified, it is then passed onto the Dealer to arrange an appointment.

All sounds good so far, so what is the problem? Unfortunately there can be some issues with this route, not least from the customer’s perspective…

Imagine being a customer to one of these brands. You have taken the time to visit their website, found the test drive request form, entered lots of details like name, email address, phone number, postal address, model of interest, contact permissions and finally pressed send. You have just qualified yourself! Next you receive a call from a contact centre, who confirm your details, asks you questions about the model you are interested in and if you are really interested in making a purchase. Essentially, asking you to reconfirm all of the questions that you already provided online. Furthermore, if you have any questions about models and specification, finance, part exchange requirements, demonstrator availability or try to actually make an appointment, the contact centre operative will probably not be able help you, so promises to get your nearest Dealer to call you.

As a customer experience this doesn’t quite work. Yes, you have been contacted quickly, but you haven’t moved any further along your car buying journey and you still can’t test drive a car!

So, what if the lead is passed directly to the Dealer?

Our research and results show that, assuming you can measure and rely on speed and quality of the Dealer follow up, this is without doubt the best route for lead follow-up activity. Dealer sales teams don’t work to scripts and are experts at keeping conversations flowing whilst getting the best result. In this case a test drive appointment. They are furnished with all of the information needed to make the appointment. They know which demonstrator vehicles are available, they know the specifications of the cars, they can help the customer through the finance or part exchange process, and just as importantly they give the customer the details that make all the difference, things like directions to the dealership and what to bring with them to the appointment.

In our experience, the best use of contact centres in the lead follow-up process is not in the follow-up of hot leads like test drive requests, finance quotes or dealer contact requests, because it creates an unnecessary delay in the process. We believe contact centres can be used most effectively to qualify brochure or ‘keep me informed’ requests, or to rekindle interest in customers who have indicated they may be interested at a future date. Another great use for a contact centre is as a proactive ‘save the sale’ activity where a Dealer has not followed up a lead within a certain period of time.

Our recommendation to clients would always be that hot leads are sent directly to the Dealer network for follow-up, but only where you have an accurate real time lead follow-up reporting solution in place.

If you would like to find out more about how TrackBack helps OEMs and dealers to optimise each lead they receive and generate more sales appointments, please contact us for more information.