Every day, our auction support line receives calls requesting support for auctions that do not retain our services. When our support team offers the contact information for the requested auction, the typical response is, “I’ve already tried that number. No one is answering the phone. Why can’t you just help me?” Many Auction Managers defend the inability of their staff to accommodate outside communication on sale day stating, “What can you do? It’s sale day!” While some people may be sympathetic to that argument, others are smacking their forehead with the palm of their hand.
If we look from the perspective that our goal is to collectively move this industry forward, then we have to start believing that this is unacceptable. Think about it! All week, the auction sales team is tasked with securing commitments from dealers to attend the sale, in lane or online. Then on sale day… dealers are being turned away? Yet, after the sale, everyone scrambles to see if this week’s percentages were higher than the week before. Just think what the consistent effort of instilling, rather than depleting online customer confidence over a period of time could actually do to those numbers. Instead, online customers simply fall through the cracks along with all of their potential purchases.
Customer Service is just one area where auctions need to evaluate their communication standards. I’ve mentioned before that many auctions make it a practice to discourage online attendance in their sales initiatives and marketing collateral. ‘Must Be Present To Win’, ‘Early Bird Special’, ‘Basketball Shoot’, ‘Free Food’… sometimes the communication may be positioned between the lines, but it comes across loud and clear. We work with our auctions to develop an online culture, insuring that all customer participation is encouraged, and assistance is provided whether the attendance is physical or virtual. While we realize that some of our recommendations are a little outside the ‘traditional’ comfort zone, our auction members understand that these changes are necessary to stay relevant in the digital age.
Over the course of the last 2 years that we have been working with auctions, we have found that all communication barriers do not stem from external sources. We have learned that the lack of departmental communication can impact the customer experience greatly. In many cases, this is due to inefficiencies that stem from paper-based workflows, and other traditional methods of operation. A single employee can spend hours on the clock physically attempting to locate paperwork, or missing vehicles. Communication is continually dropped, leaving even the customers who attended in person, waiting anxiously for answers. To overcome these internal obstacles, we are providing our members with custom digital solutions to streamline the auction workflow. We are also providing the communication channels and personnel to assist auctions with daily customer communication, including the increase of calls on sale day. We are creating usable data that gives our auctions a sense of accomplishment, and direction. For many auctions, communication is a struggle. For our auctions, we are turning this burden into opportunity.
Think Outside The Blocks™