You May Be Blaming the Wrong Person - PCG Digital

Marketing conference season is in full swing and more presenters are sharing statistics regarding ad spend and their results to their audiences.

One of the statistics concerning automotive dealers in particular is new car or branding campaigns generating service calls as well as sales calls.

If we are in agreement, customers will type in a dealership name to find the phone number, click on an ad, or call for whatever they need, then we need to find the true cause. – I don’t know why this is there.


On previously observed calls, I have heard:

“Are my plates ready?”

“Did my application for credit go through?”

“I need my car serviced.”


Immediately, the phones ring at the marketing agency, claiming money is being wasted or blaming certain campaigns that are running. While there may be some truth to campaigns not being set up correctly, we must make sure that we are not blaming the wrong person.

While PCG Digital continues to audit dealer’s marketing spends and campaigns, I work with dealerships on processes and customer flow.

In one instance, I discovered why this dealership was inundated with calls for service that was impacting their Google Ads results. Having the dealership’s sales team listen to these calls was the first step. We tracked the % of service and sales calls and found about 40% of the calls were for service.

As we broke down the service calls into groups, I discovered over 65% of the service calls were looking for status updates of their vehicle. While the owner was fixated on the marketing efforts, I followed the process backwards to see what could be causing this spike in status updates.

What we uncovered was the service advisors did not have a documented process in place to update their customers with the status of their cars; even though they had the technology to do so. Their service CRM could be used to alert customers and in my mind, this would diminish the volume to calls.

I listened to the advisors to understand what was pulling them away from this task. Some points were valid, others were not. Over the next month we developed and implemented a documented process, which the team was trained on and accountability had begun. Over the next 60-90 days, with advisors communicating with the customers ahead of time, the dealership saw a drop of 50%+ in these status calls generated by Google Ads.

We also now saw the ad group performing better because the money was not being spent by service calls thus spending less overall or only on generating sales calls.

While I loved solving this problem for a client, this is a good lesson for all those in leadership positions. Many times, what we think is the cause of poor results at first glance, may not really be the cause if we take the time to go upstream to see where the obstacle is.

Let me give you an example outside of automotive. If you’re a farmer and all of a sudden, the river you depend on for your crops is not running as fast as it was, you’re probably not sitting there blaming a neighbor or the weather for not giving you water. You’re going to go upstream to see if a rock or tree fell into the stream and that is why it is not flowing. When you clear out the obstacle your water comes back at a more efficient rate.

Approach all of your obstacles this way. Be patient, follow the path up and down that could impact results and look for obstacles you need to clear.

As for service calls clogging up your Google Ads results, follow this path to make sure you are maximizing your ad spend.


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