I do not have to tell you that car dealerships spend hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars every month on advertising. Other than cost of labor, it is one of the largest expenditures in every dealership’s budget. The more you spend, the more sales you get, or so you would like to think. Smaller dealerships typically spend less on advertising than larger ones spend. If you have only a website and maybe one other advertiser like Craigslist or a local newspaper, it is easier to monitor the effectiveness of your ad campaigns. But, when you continue to add advertisers to your ad campaigns, you find it gets harder and harder to continue to monitor the effectiveness of each of your advertising companies, much less compare results of one company to another.
The Internet quickly became the most “measurable” type of advertising available because almost every action one can take on the web is something that gets logged and counted. Every action, that is, except phone calls. It is considered Best Practice to include a phone number on the home page of your website, and for many consumers, the phone number is the first and only thing they see. One thing we could never track was how many times a day a site viewer would call the number found on your website, until today! JTZ Enterprise recently rolled out a new service specifically designed for Independent car dealerships, large and small. The Tracking Numbers service now provides data to used car dealers once only available to franchise dealerships.
JTZ Enterprise can reserve local land line phone numbers, one for each of your advertisers. Let’s say you are a smaller dealership who only advertises with a website and once in a while you post ads on Craigslist. When you enroll in our Tracking Number service, you would activate two local phone numbers. One would be posted on your website, replacing all previous mention of your existing phone number. The other would be included in your Craigslist Posts. When you activate the numbers you tell us where all calls made to these two numbers should be forwarded to. The neat thing here is that we can forward all your calls to not just your dealership, we can forward all calls to up to five different numbers! Let’s say that small dealership is tied up on the lot and the phone rings. Our system would forward all calls to the office number, and after 2-3 rings, forward the call to the dealer’s cell number. For larger dealerships, maybe the manager or sales person would be included in that list.
When someone calls the number seen on your website for instance, they will always hear, “This call is being recorded for quality assurance purposes”. At the same time, the dealer hears a brief message like, “This is another quality lead from Your_Site_Here.com”. When you know where your phone leads are coming from you can often get a sense for who they are and what they are searching for.
When calls are made to these tracking numbers they get logged and recorded in our system. We then make all of the data and recordings available to each dealership in a secure, private area of www.VAUsedCarDealers.com (VUCD). When you log in you would have access to a bar chart that will show you how many calls came from your website and from your Craigslist posts. If you also advertise with Cars.com and/or Car Gurus and have a number assigned to each of them, this chart would show you which advertiser produced the most (and the least) calls in the last 7 days, 30 days, even 90 days.
Until now, calls that were generated from an online advertisement of any type were difficult for car dealerships to track and compare. This new service, which can cost as little as $25 per month/per number, will not only shine a light on what is working in your advertising budget, it also highlights what is not working.
Many advertisers offer a similar service, but it is limited to just their advertising. JTZ Enterprise’s solution has a separate number for each advertiser so that you can get all the call recordings and data in one area giving you the ability to stack results of each advertiser next to each other more easily.
One of the strongest benefits of this new service is being able to go back and listen to your calls. Whether you are reviewing calls you took or calls that your sales staff took, there is always something to learn and improve on. I can tell you some stories about dealerships who heard their sales people interact with their customers on the phone! Besides the learning advantage, the other benefit of recording all inbound calls is that you can go back and search them. Let’s say someone called yesterday about a Camaro, but you just sold the last one. The next day another one comes in just like it and now all you have to do is log in to VUCD, review the call and call them back. Sold!
All calls can be exported in a number of formats including .PDF and .CSV for importing into any Customer Relations Management (CRM) tool you may be using.
The calls are just half of it. The other neat part of this feature is the texting or SMS! Short Message Service is the act of sending a text message of 160 characters or less. The younger you are, the more likely you are to send texts. It doesn’t matter how old you, the car dealer, are. The younger generations buying cars today are often more inclined to send a text than they would make a call. When they text one of your tracking numbers, our system will auto respond, then record all texts. The dealership is then able to log into VUCD, type a response and send it back to the buyer in the same SMS message thread. An example would be for a dealer to include in a print ad something like, “Text Last_6 _of_VIN to Tracking_Number to have this car sent to your phone”. When they do, they get a URL sent to their phone and you get their name and number (caller ID limits apply), the vehicle they asked about and the time and day of the inquiry. You then log into VUCD and type a message like, “Are you interested in a test drive?” and click the send button. At that point you have initiated a live chat via SMS, one of the first such services in the automotive industry.
This is just a small part of what is available via JTZ Enterprise’s Tracking Number service. If you want to get the most out of your advertising budget and you want to be able to compare all your advertising sources in one area, having a vibrant call tracking feature is a must! Call today!