A recent study from Marchex showed that automotive service operations are hurt financially when employees say 'No' and other negative responses to callers. Dealership service departments should view the findings of this report to identify ways they can improve and be able to use positive responses more often.

Negative Responses Lead to Lost Revenue and Opportunity

Dealership Service Departments Lose Money When They Say NoMarchex, a call analytics provider, released a report called "The Cost of Saying 'No'" in June of 2018. The study measured the financial impact of saying 'No' and other negative responses like it during service-related phone calls – and it was found to be significant.

The automotive service providers analyzed in their study collectively lose at least $110 million per year as a result of saying 'No' to callers. This comes out to an average of $23,000 in annual lost revenue per store. This is a significant impact, especially considering the average 'No' rate was only found to be 5.9 percent.

To get insights and measure the impact of turning down customers, Marchex studied more than 1.8 million phone calls from nearly 5,000 auto service providers across the country. They analyzed 50 negative phrases and variations of them – think 'no,' 'no appointments available,' 'out of stock, 'I don't think I can,' etc. – and compared them to the call's final outcome.

The Impact Saying 'No' has on Your Service Department

Here are some other key findings from the report that your store can use to develop solutions for improvement in the future:

  • Consider Future Revenue, Too – Not only do dealership service departments lose revenue opportunities by saying 'No' and other negative responses like it, they lose the chance at repeat business with these callers – making this an even costlier proposition than Marchex's study indicates. If a customer hangs up and goes elsewhere as a result of hearing 'No,' it'll likely be the last time you'll hear from them.
  • 'No' Said More Often on Weekends – Service advisors were more likely to say 'No' on Saturday and Sunday. Agents say they don't have appointments available 17 percent more often on weekends than during the week, and say they're closed 24 percent more often, as well.
  • 'No' Said More Often as the Day Goes On – Additionally, Marchex found that service advisors are more likely to say 'No' as the day wears on. This is likely a result of both lighter department staffing in the evening and less parts inventory available as sales are made throughout the day.

Solutions to Say 'Yes' More Often

Service providers say 'Yes' most of the time, which is great considering the negative financial impact saying 'No' can have. However, there are always ways to improve in problem areas. Based on Marchex's study, these solutions can help your service department buck some common problem areas to have the ability to say 'Yes' more often:

  • Increase Staffing Numbers on Weekends and Evenings – If your department has to say 'No' on weekends and evenings because a lack of staffers, consider incentivizing employees to work these shifts.
  • Increase Weekend Hours – Since most customers gravitate toward weekend appointments to schedule around their work, and the weekend is when 'No' is said most often, maximizing the hours you're open on these days can make a difference.
  • Stock Optimally – You also don't want to lose business because of short-stocking issues. Having the optimal inventory numbers on hand can decrease the number of times you have to say 'No.'
  • Provide Positive Alternatives – Service providers should work to eliminate negative phrases from their lexicon. Instead of saying 'No' when things aren't possible, present an alternative option that meets the customer's needs to end things with a positive outcome.

The Bottom Line

Saying 'No' to potential customers is of course going to hurt your service department's bottom line, but just how big of a financial impact it can have is surprising to see. Your store should take a closer look at why and when your employees have to say 'No' and look for steps you can take to stop this and be able to say ‘Yes’ and other positive responses more often. Doing so can help you make an immediate sale and increase the chances of future business with that customer. Happy customers tend to be loyal customers – and the same can be said for subprime car buyers.

Auto Credit Express wants to help you create happy and loyal customers for life with our subprime auto leads and new and used car leads. Call us at 888-535-2277 to see how we can help your dealership boost its bottom line. Or, you can fill out the contact form on our website and we'll get back to you.