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Managing Incoming Calls


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So it's a problem that is good to have but some days our phone rings off the hook while we have a waiting room full of customers and a few people at the counter waiting to drop off or pickup. It is days like this that it is very overwhelming for our 1 service writer. The issue here is that we are not consistently this busy to need to hire another service writer.

 

My question here is what do you all have in place to catch the calls that aren't able to be answered? I am thinking about getting voicemail added to our line through TWC Biz Class. Not sure how beneficial this will be so wanted to get some ideas here.

 

Also, I was reading an article recently that said that you should setup some sort of after hours answering service (ie call forwarding or voicemail) so that you are always available to the customer. Are any of you doing this?

 

Lastly, what is your policy while a service advisor is working on a phone estimate? What I mean here is do you require your advisor to put the customer on hold? We record the calls that come in from our website and I have heard various recordings where the service writer is having to answer a customer question or talk to a tech while working on the estimate and to me it sounds like the caller doesn't have your full attention so I am wondering if I should just have her put the calls on hold while the estimate is being worked up?

 

Any thoughts here?

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I agree with xrac. Getting cust info and question and call them right back with quote. But ALWAYS answer the phone! Maybe if manager helps out during busy hours. Or if you have a swing person that has personable voice and get be good service advisor when needs to step in (if have such a person that isn't your tech).

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  • Have you checked out Joe's Latest Blog?

         5 comments
      I recently spoke with a friend of mine who owns a large general repair shop in the Midwest. His father founded the business in 1975. He was telling me that although he’s busy, he’s also very frustrated. When I probed him more about his frustrations, he said that it’s hard to find qualified technicians. My friend employs four technicians and is looking to hire two more. I then asked him, “How long does a technician last working for you.” He looked puzzled and replied, “I never really thought about that, but I can tell that except for one tech, most technicians don’t last working for me longer than a few years.”
      Judging from personal experience as a shop owner and from what I know about the auto repair industry, I can tell you that other than a few exceptions, the turnover rate for technicians in our industry is too high. This makes me think, do we have a technician shortage or a retention problem? Have we done the best we can over the decades to provide great pay plans, benefits packages, great work environments, and the right culture to ensure that the techs we have stay with us?
      Finding and hiring qualified automotive technicians is not a new phenomenon. This problem has been around for as long as I can remember. While we do need to attract people to our industry and provide the necessary training and mentorship, we also need to focus on retention. Having a revolving door and needing to hire techs every few years or so costs your company money. Big money! And that revolving door may be a sign of an even bigger issue: poor leadership, and poor employee management skills.
      Here’s one more thing to consider, for the most part, technicians don’t leave one job to start a new career, they leave one shop as a technician to become a technician at another shop. The reasons why they leave can be debated, but there is one fact that we cannot deny, people don’t quit the company they work for, they usually leave because of the boss or manager they work for.
      Put yourselves in the shoes of your employees. Do you have a workplace that communicates, “We appreciate you and want you to stay!”
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