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Can’t Follow Up Yourself? Hire!

Posted By Liz Keener, Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Your most recent customer has just pulled away, the owner of a shiny new boat. You know the next step in your sales process is to follow up. But how?


You’re swamped! The phones are ringing; the online leads are pouring in; the bell at the door keeps dinging; and you haven’t eaten in six hours!


Now is the time to invest in your dealership’s customer experience. You can do this either by hiring a short-term, contract employee, or thinking long-term about a customer experience representative or manager to have on staff. You need someone who can run through your customer relationship management (CRM) log and call your spring and summer customers one by one. Someone who has the time to chit-chat with your customers and offer them the customer experience that you wish you had time for personally.


And the time to do that is now.


There are plenty of people currently looking for jobs, as they were recently laid off or furloughed due to COVID’s effects on businesses, and many of those people have worked in customer service, from call center reps to waiters and waitresses. These people with customer service experience can be taking the time to call your customers, to check in with them, assure they’re having a high-quality experience, fix any issues and ask for referrals.


So, what do you need to get started?


  • Consider if you will be hiring this person for short-term, contract work, or long-term work. If you’re hiring a contractor for the first time, check the federal and state laws on contract work. If you work with any type of human resources company, or if you have an HR person on staff, they should be able to help. Assure you’re hiring this position legally and following all of the rules for their type of employment.
  • Create a job description for that person. The MRAA Certification Team has developed a sample job description for a customer experience representative that is available for MRAA members here, along with more than 50 other job descriptions. Create your job posting, and make it clear what type of position this is (contract, part-time or full-time) and where the person will be working (inside the dealership or from their home).
  • Prepare the representative’s working environment. Depending on how you want this employee or contractor to access your CRM, dealer management system (DMS), or other technology, this job could be done from your dealership, or they could work from their own home. Consider what technology you would need to provide for them to work at either site, including a computer, phone system, a customer experience email address, etc.
  • Create a plan and set metrics. Develop a system for passing information to the customer experience rep and having them pass the information back. Ideally, this would be some system within your CRM. Also, set realistic metrics for how many customer touches the person is expected to make each day or week and a method of measuring those touches.
  • Interview and hire. Look for an enthusiastic attitude. Find someone who doesn’t mind being on the phone for hours on end; not everyone is up to the task.
  • Onboard and train. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get this person up to speed quickly, because we know you want to reach out to these customers ASAP. But make sure you still provide training on the systems the person will use, information about the dealership and its culture, and scripts and templates that the person will need.
  • Check-in. Once the customer experience rep gets going, check in and assure the work is being done to your level of expectation and that the person still has the tools, information and training they need to get the job done right.
  •  If you have time and have paid for the 2019 Continuous Certification Curriculum (Certified Dealers only), watch the Align Your People Pathway of the Q3 course: Align Your Dealership with Today’s Customer. And if you don’t have time today, bookmark that course for the future, as you consider opportunities to offer a better customer experience within your dealership. This course offers you information on a range of options from hiring a customer experience representative to creating your own Business Development Center (BDC). 

This may seem like a long list, but by hiring this new person, you’ll take a huge load off of yourself and your sales team, so you can continue to focus on bringing in new revenue. On top of that, you’ll have the opportunity to reach your new customers in ways other businesses aren’t, securing that customer’s loyalty, business and recommendations going forward.

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