CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
How involved is your connection with each of your customers? Excellent personalized customer service is what sets a great dealership apart from others. Providing superior customer service is an essential part of gaining repeat business. If you routinely followed up with every customer, in a way that would not increase your workload, how much more business could you do? Let's take a look at the customer experience process, from the perspectives of two different customers.
Without Automated Targeted Communication
The online lead (Buddy): Buddy is viewing vehicles on the dealership website. He wants to purchase a truck, and he sees two that he likes. He reads about them and views pictures on the website, then signs up for the dealership's email newsletter in case they are having any good deals.
Buddy forgets his search for a few days, then decides to check out another dealership website. He also views their trucks, and does so on a variety of other local dealership websites as well. After several months of searching, no one from any of the dealerships has contacted Buddy and he has not made a purchase.
The customer who has purchased (Minnie): Minnie purchased a car about a year ago. She received a call from the dealership three months after her purchase, letting her know that her car was due for an oil change. Minnie has not heard from the dealership since, and has discovered a shop that can do her regular maintenance for slightly cheaper than the dealership.
These situations are common. Most automotive customers now research vehicles online before visiting the dealership. In many cases, dealership staff do not have the tools to reach out to all the online leads they receive.
Once customers purchase vehicles, they require ongoing maintenance, and routine appointments are a great way to drive repeat business back to the original dealership. Does your staff contact every customer to let them know each time that their vehicle requires routine maintenance? Oil change notices, appointment reminders, updates about winter tires and special promotions... Are you contacting each customer with this important information?
If you are contacting each customer, that requires a lot of time, effort and organization. You could spend your whole day just calling customers. Is there a way to simplify the process of reaching out to customers, while still effectively connecting with them and enhancing the level of customer service that you provide?
With Automated Targeted Communication
Now let's imagine how the customer experience could be enhanced with the help of an automated communication solution.
The online lead (Buddy): Buddy views the trucks that he likes and signs up for the dealership's email newsletter. He immediately receives a welcome message: “Hi Buddy! Thanks for signing up. Use the promotional code TIRE2014 to get 20% off your purchase of windshield washer fluid or gas line antifreeze.” He receives another email the next day, with a list of “deals of the month” and he spots a truck. He clicks the link to view more information.
Two days later, he gets an email entirely focused on trucks, with links to pages highlighting the features of each of the dealership's trucks that are currently in stock. He sees the truck he likes, and clicks the link. The next day, he receives an email “Hi Buddy, would you like to test drive a Brand X 2014 truck? If you find the truck of your dreams, we will throw in three months of satellite radio free, just for you!”
Buddy goes to the dealership and tests out the truck. The salesperson is friendly and helpful and soon Buddy has decided to purchase.
The customer who has purchased (Minnie): Minnie just purchased her car. She told the salesperson that the best way to reach her is through text messaging. Two weeks after the initial purchase, Minnie receives a text message: “Hi Minnie, we hope you're enjoying your new car! If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know. You can always text us or call us at ---.”
Every three months, Minnie gets a text message letting her know that her car is due for an oil change. She even books her appointments through text messaging. On the day of each appointment, she receives a text message reminding her of the appointment time.
Every few months, Minnie receives messages and promotions that are tailored to her car type and purchase date. She always receives routine maintenance notices so her vehicle stays in top shape, and she also gets reminders when she should put on and take off her winter tires. Each year on Minnie's birthday and on the anniversary of the day she purchased her vehicle, she gets exclusive text message discounts and promotions. The communication process is quick and easy, and Minnie has never been so satisfied with customer service, so she continues to return for her maintenance and has recommended the dealership to friends.
Automotive salespeople and customer service representatives provide the most important connection to customers, and their hard work and friendly attitude encourage customer loyalty. Yet it is difficult for staff to contact each customer on every important date with updates about their unique vehicle and personalized promotions.
With the assistance of automated software that is currently available, staff can contact hundreds of customers with a single click. They can set up a communication plan at the beginning of the year to ensure that every customer receives maintenance reminders based on their purchase date and date of last appointment, a special promotion on their birthday and more. Automatic messages are sent on the customer's preferred mode of communication. All messages are sent from a single automated solution.
Imagine how much more new and repeat business you could gain if you could follow up with every online lead and in-store customer, and provide information that is directly relevant to each unique individual. Your daily workload is reduced, yet you are able to provide more personalized service to each of your customers.