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Bruce Etzcorn

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We've all received one. It's that email that arrives in record time after I've forgotten my password or when I've ordered something online that assures me that my purchase will be here soon. The Auto-response has become viewed as a modern day receipt, instantly delivered and dynamically generated. In most cases, the response is originated from your CRM or website provider when a action is performed but that doesn't mean it has to sound like it was generated by a computer.

We should be looking at Auto-responders as the first step to building a long-standing relationship with our customers. After all, this is the first message you are sending from your dealership. It is possible to create an auto-responder that is dynamic and "feels" like it's a hand typed response. By creating custom Auto-responses for each type of lead, you can produce well written, meaningful responses that your customer is expecting.

  1. Make it personal. You are sending an Auto-responder to a person who has willingly shared some information with your dealership, make sure you use it. Use every bit of information that you have to personalize your response to the reason that person sent you their information in the first place.
  2. Make a great first impression. The Auto-response is the first message a customer receives from your dealership, make sure that it's a good one. This person is excited about the vehicle they just emailed you about to schedule a test drive, or may have a question about their service plan and what is covered. Your response to them should be positive and let them know that you understand their needs and are working to ensure they are met. "Thank you for your interest in our dealership. Your message has been received and we will contact you shortly" is the absolute worst thing you could send someone looking for some sort of resolution and is a huge disappointment.
  3. Provide the details. The Auto-response should always provide additional instructions to contact your business. Include the the dealership street address so your customer can get driving directions. Include your phone number with instructions to call with questions. Include items that they may need to bring with them to assist in getting the financing process started. Providing additional helpful instructions for your customer will help everyone know what to expect. You've got someone interested in your business, now it's time to relax and start building the relationship.

Contact your CRM and/or website provider and ask if it is possible to create separate auto-responses based off lead source, most major CRM's support this. Use the above guidelines to assist in the creation of more meaningful automatically generated responses to your customers. Improving the content of these messages will help create relationships and better first impressions.

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