Phone up Game Part 3: On Hold & Transfer Hell

How’s Your Dealership Phone Up Game?

In Part 2: Leads that never make it into the CRM, we uncovered that so far, you’re potentially losing $508,892.16 per year due to unanswered call drops and leads not entered into the CRM. But wait! There’s more loss coming – buckle up, buttercup!

Part 3: On Hold & Transfer Hell

According to a Benchmark Report by Invoca, 54% of consumers said that excessive transfers create a poor experience and was one of the top gripes the participants listed. I’ve experienced this firsthand calling dealerships. The Service Department answers the phone even though I called the Sales number listed on the website, they transfer me to the receptionist but instead I get a salesperson who can’t help me who transfers me to the receptionist, who then transfers me back to the service drive by accident. True story – and it happens more often than you think!

A few pro-tips:

  • Are the numbers on your website, email templates, and marketing materials correct?
  • Are the numbers routing to the right department or person correctly?
  • Have you accounted for any recent terminations or additions to your team and adjusted your internal phone list accordingly?

“Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold and listen to this obnoxious commercial over and over again for the next 2 minutes.”

What’s even more alarming is the amount of time shoppers are spending on hold just to get their questions answered. 

The average wait time in automotive for being on hold is 95 seconds, according to It may not seem like a long time on the outside, but to someone who’s trying to give you their business, it’s an eternity. During that time, you’re telling the customer, “We’re too busy for you – call another dealership.”

A research study conducted by Velaro cites almost 60% of shoppers are not inclined to wait more than 1 minute. That means if you don’t answer within 1 minute, you risk losing 40% of your potential customers. Let’s do the math using the same Facebook analysis from our previous parts.

What’s that costing you?

  • 550 Click to Calls x $2.24 = $1,232
  • Let’s subtracts the 23% that go unanswered = 424 answered calls
  • 424 answered calls x 40% that hang up after 1 minute on hold = 169 opportunities lost per month/2,028 lost per year
  • Those leads lost cost the dealership $378.56 per month; $4,542.72 per year
  • If we assume you can sell 12.5% (close rate) of those = 21 sales lost per month; 253 sales lost per year
  • And assume a $2,000 profit per sold = $42,000 profit loss per month; $504,000 profit loss per year.

The loss tally so far…

 Per MonthPer Year
Part 1: Unanswered Calls Marketing Budget Loss$282.24$3,386
Part 1: Unanswered Call Sales Profit Loss$28,000$336,000
Part 2: Leads not entered in CRM Marketing Budget Loss$125.44$1,505
Part 2: Leads not entered into CRM Sales Profit Loss$14,000$168,000
Par 3: On Hold Marketing Budget Loss$378.56$4,542
Part 3: On Hold Hang Ups Sales Profit Loss$42,000$504,000
Total Loss$84,786.24$1,017,433

I have a solution to help, but head over to Part 4: Not Asking for the Appointment.

Written on September 11, 2023

Written by Cassie Crampton

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