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The Forgotten Face of Your Dealership

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Article Highlights:

  • How the receptionist plays into the customer life cycle.
  • Provide them with the right tools.

Your dealership probably has a “face” you’re known for. Everyone usually has a different answer. The dealer, sales team, management – I’ve heard them all. But one role that never seems to make the cut and is too often forgotten about is the receptionist.

Often, the receptionist is the first point of contact a customer has with your store. That first phone interaction lays the groundwork for the rest of the customer life cycle, and it’s the receptionist’s job to provide a memorable experience in the short seconds they’re connecting with the customer. Because the receptionist is essentially a touchpoint for every customer, it’s critical you provide them with the right tools to make their job easier. Their most-used tool will be your phone system. Here’s what your receptionist needs in a phone system to add value to your dealership:

  1. Knowing your customer. This is more than just searching for the customer in your CRM and finding the right profile. Today, knowing your customer is about having customer information front and center– before you even pick up and say hello. And this goes beyond simply name, address, and phone number. Today, knowing your customer means you know everything about them that pertains to your dealership – vehicles purchased, service work, family members, financing terms, and recent offers sent to them. Instant access to all of this and more helps the receptionist make each customer feel known.
  2. Streamlined activities. Anyone can schedule an appointment or pull up an RO, but it’s how quickly and painlessly you complete the task that the customer remembers. These types of call activities should be simplified with a click of a button – not a drawn out process that requires multiple transfers or even handwritten notes.
  3. Automation. The receptionist’s main job is to manage phone traffic, but they could also be responsible for greeting walk-in customers and pointing them in the right direction. To minimize repetitive or situational phone calls, enable automatic features like self-service lines or automatic customer reminders. Not only do customers appreciate this type of information at their fingertips, but walking into a store and being greeted by an employee with a smile on their face, and not tied to a phone, has a lasting impression on the experience.
  4. Confidence. 40% of employees with poor training leave their job within the first year[1]. The time, money, and resources it takes to rehire and retrain someone is not worth losing employees to this fixable issue. Providing your receptionist with the right training, right away, has a major effect on their job satisfaction, motivation, attitude, and confidence – all of which can even be detected over the phone.

The receptionist plays such an important role in your day-to-day operation because they are likely connecting with more people on a daily basis than the rest of your staff combined. They truly are the face of your dealership. One phone call can make – or break – any relationship. Don’t set your receptionist up to fail with a phone system that can’t keep up. An integrated phone system that connects to your entire dealership propels their success – and yours – forward.

[1] go2HR

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Vice President, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jody Huff is the Vice President of Sales Development at Reynolds and Reynolds and has been with the company for over 26 years. Jody’s alma mater is Texas A&M University where he earned a BBA in Marketing.

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