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Jared Hamilton
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It’s Good for You: Why It’s Time to Stop Avoiding Digital Messaging

97ea5045abde95af0bec9b0846aa5b20.jpg?t=1In a perfect world, I could pop a pill and instantly have six-pack abs and a 32 waist. There’s also no need to market to or communicate with consumers because people drive onto your lot and buy on the spot—and you have a hard time keeping up with demand!

If only.

Actually, just 17 in 4,002 consumers polled in’s Car Buyer of the Future study said they liked the current car-buying process. But if a “better shopping and buying experience” was created, 72% would visit dealerships more often and 53% would buy more often

I liken it to going on a diet. It takes some effort, but the results make it worthwhile! So if you want to improve your dealership's customer experience and start seeing results, here’s one lifestyle change that might help.

Consumer Diet: Changing for Engagement 

Just as you have to eat correctly and exercise often to get healthy, you need to engage prospective buyers when, where and how they prefer for the most streamlined dealership that will help you sell more cars!

You can’t start that engagement when the buyer shows up on the lot. Consumers usually begin the purchase journey 30-60 days earlier...and you want to be ready to help at any of those moments to influence their dealership visit and eventual purchase. During this time, consumers are influenced by 24+ sources (friends, family, reviews, research sites, shopping sites, videos, etc. - as Google research notes) until they get to the sweet spot in the funnel: engagement. They have questions.

This engagement opportunity marks a major touch point where the dealership experience either meets or fails consumer expectations. Because consumers Demand Immediate Engagement Today. 

That’s the “diet” they want. That’s what we, as businesses, have to follow to get the results we want. 

Sticking to the Diet with Automotive Chat & Text 

To see those improved results, you need to be ready to engage the moment consumers have questions, offering convenient, live help and advice on the screen of their choice (desktop or mobile). Chat and text conversations only help.

The real challenge is that most diets fail—because only 20% actually stick with it (in fact, 40% quit within a week, per a 2013 Alpro survey). In other words, simply enabling that immediate engagement with digital messaging doesn’t mean you’re set for success. Instead you need to…

  • Make sure every shopper has the chance to connect - Don’t stop at adding chat and text to your dealership site. Add it to your emails and social media. Add the text number to any advertisement. Check into the messaging options that third-party and review sites offer. See if your OEM has a program for adding messaging to regional or certified pre-owned inventory sites.
  • Decide your management setup - For the best experience, customers should receive quick, helpful responses whenever they reach out. How do you plan on providing that? Do you want messaging experts to act as an extension of your dealership for top-funnel shoppers (so your sales team can focus on just the most serious buyers)? Do you want all the chat or text conversations managed for you? Do you want your team to manage them all? 
  • Get team buy-in for the most successful implementation. With it, the leads gathered from those conversations will be followed up with pronto for the most seamless, attentive buying experience.

Like how a truly successful diet can become a healthier lifestyle, a truly successful digital messaging program can help dealerships see long-term increased engagement, revenue and customer satisfaction. 

Is customer experience something you’re working on at your dealership? What changes have been working for you?

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