Leading an Appointment Culture – Part 8

Leading an Appointment Culture – Part 8

TRANSCRIPT: In the last part of this series we talked about how you can, in just a few minutes, tell if your team is really trying to live in an appointment culture. Now, what if you’re the general manager and you are in the dealership all the time, or you’re an owner and you are there all the time or even if you’re from the corporate office and you are going to spend a lot of time in the dealership, maybe more than a few hours? I’m going to teach you now how you can inspect an appointment culture.

Now, when you get to the dealership, you want to work with the champion. This is the person who has been designated as, maybe, the ‘owner’ of the CRM. They are the person who is going to do bug fixes. They are the one person who makes sure everyone stays on track. They are going to be the one who holds people accountable. They are going to be the one who can tell a manager, “Hey, you’re not living within the appointment culture.” So, we’re going to work with the champion. We’re going to find out what their findings have been up to this time. We’re going to inspect both the old and the new points. This is called “Management by Walking Around” (MBWA) again. We’re going to walk out to the old point. We’re going to see who’s outside waiting for the UP bucks. If there is more than one person out there and we don’t want more than one outside, we’re going to call them back in. We want to make sure everyone is completing the activity. Is there activity at the new point? Are people on the phone?

Next, we are going to inspect the technology. We’re going to verify past due activities in the CRM. We’re going to look at the appointment log in the CRM. I want to look at yesterday’s desk log in the CRM. I want to see that the desk log matches the DMS, right? We need to see that the number we sold, the number we desked, that how many went to F&I in the CRM corresponds with what really happened in the dealership.

I want to review the ‘phone ups’. That’s our call tracking tool. Now, it would be great if our call tracking tool talked to our CRM and I could work in the CRM and listen to those calls. For some of you, that’s a reality, but for most of you, it’s not. So, I want to listen to the phone ups from yesterday. I want to hear how our team is answering the phone and are we truly living in an appointment culture? Are we using the proper talk tracks that drive appointments, or are we just vomiting a lot of information on anybody who calls about any vehicle?

Then I want to view the outbound call activity. This is something called CTI (Computer Telephony Integration). If your business or dealership doesn’t have this, you need to get this. CTI is very simple; it’s where you have a good phone system and a good CRM and they ‘talk’ to each other. What that means is, when I pick up the phone to call someone from my desk, and that number corresponds to something in the CRM, my telephone system can tell my CRM, “Steve Stauning picked up the phone at 2:35. He dialed Barbara Jones’s number. They talked for 4 minutes.”

This is something for your lawyers. Don’t ask me, but, if you can do this in your state; if you can record outbound calls as long as one party knows about it (it’s called a one party state), then a great CTI is where that recorded call actually gets attached to the customer record in the CRM. So, if I set an appointment with Barbara Jones for today at 5:30, you should be able to review the outbound call activity, click on that call and hear me using the proper talk track, setting the perfect appointment. Setting a strong appointment. If I was a manager and I was supposed to confirm that call, if you have great CTI, you can actually listen to your manager’s calls. This is how you inspect the activities through the technology.

Other things that you need to inspect when you’re inspecting the appointment culture in your dealership is to inspect the perfect appointment. How do you inspect the perfect appointment? Well, why don’t we start by looking at the ‘show’ percentage? That percentage of appointments scheduled that actually show within a given time. Now, I would probably set that at 30 minutes either side of the appointments. I know dealerships that want to allow 45 minutes to either side. It’s up to you, whatever you decide you want to do in your dealership, go ahead and do it. But, now I want to see the show percentage for that given time frame and I expect an 80% show rate at a minimum. If you are living in an appointment culture and you are setting strong appointments, you should get an 80% show rate.

Moreover, if your managers are doing proper, appropriate, appointment confirmations that percentage should vault well above 80%. I know dealerships that are getting close to 100% show rates and those that don’t show, call, in advance, and tell them why they can’t keep the appointments.

Another step to inspecting the perfect appointment is to review the appointment log and review it at the desk. Is it accurate at the desk? Now, hopefully, it’s in the CRM. I don’t like to have an appointment log or board that requires someone to write on it because those never stay accurate. I want to inspect the appointment log and ensure that it’s accurate; that there are no past due appointments. If there is an appointment coming in 15 minutes from now, I can look outside and see that the vehicle is cleaned, gassed and parked up front ready to go.

See, that’s how we inspect the perfect appointment. I want to observe the managers making the confirmation calls. I want to hear the talk tracks they use. This is important and I’ll show you why.