Car dealerships have to get phone calls right. Customers want quick answers when they call with questions about repairs, maintenance, or trade-ins. Every minute on hold gives customers a chance to think about the dealer down the street or the new model from a competing brand.
Call quality is especially critical for dealers selling luxury cars. People who pay more expect more.
BMW of Murray, a car dealership in metropolitan Salt Lake City, Utah, had these realities in mind when it upgraded its business phone system. The company’s challenges, buying decisions, and business results illustrate what car dealer managers can expect when they adopt a new generation of call technology.
Facing the facts: The old phone system had to go
The dealership’s business phone system was more than a decade old. “Over time, our satisfaction with the system started to wane,” recalls Todd Hawkins, IT manager at BMW of Murray. “New updates and releases felt like one step forward and two steps back — we would get a release that would break more than it fixed, then have to wait another six months for the vendor to release a patch.”
BMW of Murray’s two-person IT staff navigated a patchwork of applications and services while responding to the daily requests of a busy car dealership. Managers didn’t have visibility into call data on their own but rather needed to request reports from the IT staff, which could take days.
Complex and unintuitive were terms used to describe administrative experience in the dealership’s previous solution.
“It was ridiculously difficult to make changes in our previous phone system,” Hawkins says. “Something as simple as looking up a call could take weeks, and pulling reports was equally tedious and time-consuming ... I mean mind-bogglingly, painfully slow."
The dealership’s sales staff, meanwhile, included people with decades of experience who had large clienteles accustomed to calling one phone number. Any new system would have to forward all calls to salespeople’s current numbers.
Finding relief with a cloud-based call platform
Hawkins was kicking the tires in the business phone market to see what was out there, but he wasn’t looking to buy. BMW of Murray still had 18 months left on its phone service contract, so there was plenty of time to find alternative solutions.
The business-phone marketplace had changed dramatically in the 11 years since the dealership acquired its business phone system. Cloud-based platforms became the go-to solutions for small to midsize businesses that need powerful communications tools.
The folks at BMW of Murray discovered the scope of the evolution during a demonstration of the GoTo Connect cloud-based phone system.
“I did the demo, and it blew my socks off,” Hawkins says. “I was amazed at the ease of use and seeing what we could do with reporting and phone tree visualization.”
GoTo Connect is a simple, unified platform for call management, analytics, messaging, meetings and more. It uses voice over internet protocol (VoIP), which makes the software available on any internet-connected device. Because it’s in the cloud, there’s no IT hardware to buy, configure, or maintain.
The demo convinced Hawkins and his colleagues that waiting 18 months for a new system was out of the question. They wanted the new system ASAP because they saw the potential for strong business results.
Driving better outcomes with a cloud-based business phone system
The simplicity of the GoTo Connect platform became apparent as soon as it was up and running.
“Texting, faxing, recording, and reporting from one central location is a huge upside,” Hawkins says.
“I was able to cancel six or seven different products once we made the switch.”
Fewer applications to pay for and oversee means lower costs and less complexity.
The system also improves the experience of the people who matter most: customers calling the dealership. GoTo’s call-management features ensure that everybody talks to the people who can help them the most.
Moreover, salespeople have a one-stop shop for all their calling needs. “Our sales team can open the GoTo app and do everything there,” Hawkins says. “They don’t have to use a separate app for texting, e-mail, and pictures. They can text and call their customers and receive texts and calls from their customers from wherever they are.”
Managers also have direct access to analytics data. They can listen to calls, create reports, and put data to work when training employees and rewarding top performers.
“It takes so much pressure and time off of our IT group and enables the management team to go in and hold people accountable,” Hawkins adds. “It’s been transformative.”