Garages have very particular needs when it comes to their phone systems. There are different types of garages within the industry too, with some offering quick tyre changes, MOTs and repairs and others selling vehicles and servicing them. Common to all is that most of their staff members do not sit at a desk and are not readily available to answer the phone.
Some garages may not even use a phone system. They may rely on one line for the phone and another for the card machine, which is what my local garage uses. When I ring them, I patiently wait as I know one of the mechanics will be pushing themselves out from under a car to answer my call! It’s physically easier for staff on a garage forecourt, but then again, they will not want to interrupt a potential sale by absenting themselves from a one-on-one conversation to answer a call.
It seems garages are realising the limitations of these legacy set-ups as we have installed many phone systems for this sector in recent months. For the tyre, repairs, bodywork and MOT garages, they have needed to find ways to effectively manage their ongoing workload, while car sales businesses have been desperate to make up for opportunities lost during multiple lockdowns.
Call capacity is key. These businesses need to have the ability to receive and make multiple calls at the same time. People who need their vehicles repaired will call first thing in the morning to book in while staff will need to make calls at the end of day to ask the owners to pick their vehicles up. Meanwhile, sales staff will not want any potential buyers to be met with an engaged tone. They need more than one line!
Voicemail is also important. If a call is missed, staff need to be able to return calls with ease. Modern phone systems offer integration with email accounts, so that messages can be picked up via a desk handset or by email with the message attached as sound file. Some systems even send a transcript of the message for easy retrieval and response.
Automated attendant functionality greets every call with a professional recorded message and provides options to direct those calls, such as: “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for repairs, press 3 to book an MOT,” etc. Customers will feel their call is being dealt with even if it ends up going to voicemail.
Mobility though is the biggest challenge for garages as they need to be able to answer their calls wherever they are located in the workshop or on the sales floor or forecourt. Wireless handsets or apps that twin desk phones with mobiles give staff the mobility to roam around the site but still remain contactable.
Aside from the big four reasons for change above, garages will have to change if they are already using older phone systems that rely on ISDN or PSTN lines! These copper lines will be switched off by the end of 2025, so most phone systems that use these will need to be replaced or upgraded by then. Openreach’s traditional line withdrawal plan means garages are being forced to change but are happily finding benefits when they upgrade.
We pride ourselves on understanding the industries we serve. Garages are no different. You may have different needs from the ones we have discussed in this blog. Whatever they are, we listen to you and design solutions based on your requirements. Do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any further help.