Thoughts on using a Guest Check-in?

Joel G.
I have been thinking about getting some sort of check-in kiosk (ex like at the airport), where customers can check themselves into the showroom. My motivation is two-fold: 1) BDC Appointments: We are experiencing too many holes in logging ups and appointments. I can easier coach BDC appointments to check in themselves, than to coach the sales people to enter and log every guest. 2) Non BDC Appointments: I want to know more about my returning customers, when they visit, what time of day, what day of the week, etc. Also, just a more streamlined customer experience. I have no idea what vendor has this, or to the extent I can incorporate into my CRM, or if I'd have to just run a separate system. Again, just a thought because we need more consistency. I know many of you may be tempted to just suggest I train the salespeople correctly, but I am at a very high volume store, and its just time we look to technology to handle the amount of traffic we experience. I want something more than a salesman and a pen to track my customer behavior.
Steve Tuschen
Looked at it 10 years ago and the technology wasn't there then. As long as the customer gets a great experience it would be fine. Me personally I think it makes the experience impersonal so someone would have to WOW me to get over that function. I think to our local Verizon store, they take your name put you in a queue and if they lose track of you they just go to the next person, wasn't impressed and seems like you are just a number. Have you ever though of having a greeter, they can gather the customer's information, get the interests and be a buffer until the salesperson is ready. You can train that person to log everything correctly. To me that would be more of a personal touch instead of having a kiosk the customer has to navigate.
Roger Hsieh
Joel G. Do you have a captive portal setup on your dealership's guest Wi-Fi that could be used? Assuming most folks coming in have smartphones with Wi-Fi, your BDC could give them instructions or you could have signage in your dealership to direct shoppers to "check-in through your guest Wi-Fi. This avoids having to set up a kiosk. I don't know of a specific vendor product that handles this, but your network/Wi-Fi provider or IT dept. would be the first places to check. This type of feature is pretty standard in hospitality industry. My question for you is what information would you ask for during this check-in process? Shopper name, email (something to confirm their identity to match with your CRM).
Joel G.
Thanks for the quick replies. Steve: We do have a greeter, but not for every hour of every day. We are open 7 days a week, 12 hours most days. We are a top volume Toyota store in a major city. Our traffic is nonstop. Our greeter also answers phone calls, does some light running around, etc. That's why we are seeking alternatives and an automated check in system. Roger: I thought about checking-in on a smartphone, but I thought that directing a customer to a physical kiosk would be better than using their phones. I question the accuracy of checking-in with their smartphone, and also there is still a segment of the population without smartphones. We are in the city and our customer spectrum is wide. Good answers both of you, thanks.
Chris K Leslie
In order for it to work you would need everyone to use it 100% of the time. Which can be a long hard road and fighting all the way. I've rarely seen hardware or software fix a process issue. I have seen it work by removing options as an answer. Basically not accepting anything less than a company standard requirement with consequences.
Todd Katcher
We offer a solution like this that has worked well. But like Chris Leslie says -- it has to be used. This is true of everything a dealership has and a vendor supplies. The way I consult dealers is that a customer can 'register' at the kiosk and then browse the store. We have several other features such as requesting a brochure, that also captures information and feeds it DIRECTLY TO THE CRM. Dealers that use the system successfully have reasons for doing so 1) Creating a staff process that makes sure the information is added into the CRM (sales people can add their initials too) 2) Creating a different experience for the customer when they come in -- more of a helpful and informative way of conversing with a customer and breaking down barriers 3) Providing information customers want without being forceful 4) Providing registration for a mailer -- we also offer a license scanner for validation -- allows a 'hands-free' entry for mailer and give-away lead generation One of our customers integrates this process in the store using a concierge. This has been successful in being "different" in a crowded market. hope this feedback helps.

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