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The motor trade needs to pull it’s socks up when it comes to phone answering, that is the finding of a recent survey of over 900 dealerships carried out by PHMG, a Manchester based branding firm who specialise in helping companies select the right hold music.

The survey found that 44% per cent of dealers leave on-hold customers listening to generic music, 20% just have beeps, 20% leave punters in silence and 5% leave calls ringing. Shockingly given the money spent on marketing by car firms, of the 911 dealerships surveyed, just 8% used brand-consistent voice and music messaging on their phone systems and 92% of dealers do not use auto attendant messaging to greet customers who call out of hours.

Mark Williamson, Sales and Marketing Director at PHMG, said: “Call handling remains a critically undervalued element of customer service and marketing. A previous study of 1,000 UK consumers found 73 per cent will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled satisfactorily.

“Therefore, it is important companies do their utmost to improve the experience. Motor dealers appear to be performing better than the majority of British businesses in this respect but there is still work to be done in providing an experience that keeps callers engaged and entertained.

“Generic music, beeps, ringing or silence convey a message that the customer is not valued, which will only serve to compound any annoyance felt as a result of being made to wait on hold.”

PHMG say that call handling standards have not significantly improved since their last similar survey in 2013.

“The trends over the past three years suggest motor dealers believe generic music is enough to keep callers entertained but this can actually have the opposite effect,”

“An existing, generic piece of music should not be repurposed to convey a message it was never intended to, as its characteristics may not match those of the company.

“Hearing is one of our most powerful emotional senses so the sounds customers hear when they call a business will create a long-lasting impression. Every element of a music track, whether tempo, pitch or instrumentation, will stir different emotions so traders should ensure they convey the appropriate brand image.”

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