21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Call tracking: The time is now

A phone call is often the first time a customer has a direct human interaction with a brand. Getting this initial touchpoint right is therefore essential. For the automotive industry, phone calls are still king when it comes to building a customer connection – but how do you effectively measure offline leads and calls as part of a wider marketing strategy?
Despite the digital era transforming marketing into a new world of tools, measurements, and analytics, the core principles of sales and marketing remains the same. The aim is always to deliver a genuine customer experience at every point of the journey, and offer an understanding of the product, brand, and customer intention.
But with phone calls driving more sales, how can businesses understand what is working, what isn’t and what their customer wants? Plus, with research from Mediahawk revealing that inbound sales calls for automotive dealers are up 22% year-on-year, understanding this will be key for business success across the industry as a whole. The data also highlighted that the summer period June – September 2022 showed a steady increase in sales calls to dealerships.
Inbound call tracking and analysis gives all businesses in the automotive industry from dealerships to independent repair garages the opportunity to turn this positive sales call volume data into something much more meaningful – informing a wider holistic marketing strategy.

Getting into gear:  Latest automotive insights
In the automotive sector, data trends from Mediahawk indicate that alongside a steady YoY rise in phone calls, a whole suite of marketing technology tools are being used to engage with customers.
Website visitors to automotive dealers in particular follow a similar pattern to calls, rising to a 45% YoY growth, and is in line with the summer 2022 and January 2023 rises. Other key avenues for acquisition and driving customers through to the website come from organic channels, which has increased by 73% YoY.
Paid channels and partnerships are also proving worthwhile for automotive marketing strategies. PPC activity drove 22% of website acquisitions in 2022. Social media, Google Business Profile (GBP) and Auto Trader also saw significant YoY growth in driving website traffic, proving that diverse channel messaging is vital to reach multiple customer audiences.
Mediahawk’s report also uncovered that Google Business Profile had the most impact when it came to inbound calls. 46% of inbound calls were attributable to GBP, demonstrating that the decision to call can be fast-tracked by having an up-to-date profile online.
With so many communication avenues, tracking effectiveness is critical to knowing the impact of marketing budgets and campaign reach. The automotive industry can incorporate these tools into marketing strategies, but should also apply a continuous improvement to prevent wasted budget and more effective targeting.

How call tracking can benefit your garage
Data shows that customers are still keen to pick up the phone and speak to someone – especially for big-ticket items like cars. With the economic squeeze across the UK making everyone more careful with their money, a great experience can be make-or-break when it comes to who they book with in the first instance, and if they become a repeat customer.
Inbound call tracking is not just about monitoring call sources. By implementing it as part of a wider marketing strategy that uses organic, paid, media, and partnership platforms to reach customers, garages are able to maximise a potentially limited marketing budget, understand what channels are most effective, and refine accordingly to deliver great results.

1.    Customer experience
Building good relationships are key for any business, but particularly for repair garages. Creating a positive rapport with a customer helps them feel at ease and in control. Establishing a great customer relationship also means they are likely to be a repeat or returning customer.
With more people holding onto their cars for longer, this could mean more repairs over time, so ensuring relationships are being nurtured at every opportunity is critical. Speech analytics is deployed through call tracking and can provide you with an edge over competitors through smart use of customer insights.
Tracking key phrases and intentions allows garages to target customer needs exactly. In turn, this can influence and shape services, offers, and overall customer communication. Marketing messages can be tailored and perfected to improve conversion rates and generate customer loyalty.

2.    Team performance
Marketing is just one half of the customer experience here – once the customer has picked up the phone, it’s time for your team to shine. Inbound call tracking allows garages to measure the performance of the calls and know where successes are happening, as well as where improvements can be made.
Inbound leads offer your team the opportunity to nurture a customer relationship and create a positive experience. These human connections are what build customer relationships and all-important brand loyalty.
By using call tracking, garages can understand where additional training is needed to improve the customer experience, keeping your teams up to date and able to answer any query.
Helping teams work effectively hand-in-hand with marketing campaigns and messages can help drive business success. Understanding how the two work together can be unveiled through the use of call tracking technology – as Dick Lovett Automotive Group discovered.

Call tracking in action: Dick Lovett Automotive Group
As an established automotive dealership specialising in luxury cars, Dick Lovett Automotive Group recognises the need for tailored and exceptional customer experience. However, despite a steady influx of positive customer calls, the business lacked insight into what was driving the communications. Without knowing what was pushing customers to call, it was impossible to understand ROI from marketing or accurately measure conversion.
Implementing Mediahawk call tracking technology allowed the Dick Lovett team to understand where calls were coming from, what marketing campaigns were driving customers, and capture more sales leads.
As a direct result of using Mediahawk, Dick Lovett has been able to improve the sales conversion rate, realign its marketing strategy to specific channels for maximum effect, and begin making strides towards improved data capture and enhanced overall customer experience.
The power of data analytics from call tracking is not to be underestimated when it comes to improving ROI and lead conversion. By understanding how to best allocate marketing budget and activity, refining the customer journey to be a seamless and positive experience, and continuously analysing and improving every stage of the sales and marketing processes, businesses can leverage data-driven advantages over competitors and stay a step ahead.
Without call tracking, it would not be possible to take such a nuanced approach to sales and marketing, nor to deliver results that are measurable to exact activity periods. Making every call count and gleaning as much data as possible allows businesses to improve, advance, and ultimately, succeed.