A great customer experience is everything.
Creating brand loyalty in today's computerized world requires excellence and speed at every step of the automotive customer lifecycle, from first contact to repurchasing. If your dealership can't keep pace, we can guide you through a digital transformation to streamline your operations.
We provide a comprehensive and tailored solutions suite that converts manual tasks and face-to-face interactions to the digital applications you need to create a fantastic customer journey.
Consumers invest considerable time researching what vehicles to purchase, whom to buy from, and where to take their cars for service. Much of this effort now takes place remotely, as an increasingly digital landscape means more accessible information for prospective customers before stepping inside a showroom.
More information means a more informed prospect with evolving expectations. It also gives way to a more complex automotive customer journey with multiple touchpoints on varying digital and physical platforms.
Improving the Automotive Customer Journey: 5 Strategies
1. Pinpoint Critical Points in the Customer Journey
Dealers must identify and track each touchpoint in the purchasing journey to optimize the consumer experience. To do this, they should consider using web analytics software that helps dealerships monitor online visitor behavior, which might include the following actions:
- Searching inventories
- Scheduling test drives
- Researching financing options
- Scheduling service appointments
Another crucial stage of the customer journey (and one that dealers pay less attention to as digitization takes over most processes) is the phone call experience, where many potential customers experience a disconnect.
Many car owners will phone the dealership at some point during the process to schedule service appointments. However, the service center’s analytics will suffer from a significant blind spot if calls go unlogged and untracked.
Dealerships are now adopting conversation intelligence to combat these potentially harmful impacts on analytics. They can watch the entire digital-to-call process to determine which strategies generate the most calls to the physical location, including:
- Web pages
- Ad campaigns
- Media platforms
- Content and keywords
AI can also uncover detailed information from phone calls, including each caller’s product or service preferences, if they were a quality lead, and whether they made an appointment. AI can also automate phone call quality assurance to verify that customer service reps offer top-notch service.
2. Design a Tailored Omnichannel Strategy
Because the typical car buyer spends more than half a year researching their purchase, they will likely interact with dealerships across various platforms and devices before stepping inside the showroom. As such, dealers should leverage marketing campaigns that keep leads warm as they move from one touchpoint to the next.
However, providing prospects with a consistent experience across all platforms is crucial when marketing to them—a rough, impersonal transition from channel to channel results in lower conversion rates. Untailored ads do not reflect the consumer’s most recent engagement with the dealership, at which point they typically lose interest.
Instead, dealers must construct audiences based on the website’s users and divide them into groups according to the vehicle pages they visited. Additionally, they might build audiences based on the advertising offers that prompt the most responses. As a result, dealers can target an ideal online audience based on prior interactions.
3. Provide Live Online Chats
The most successful dealers use a well-thought-out and personal approach to customer service.
For in-person interactions, this strategy entails direct assistance from sales representatives when prospective buyers visit the showroom. Staff should guide customers through the process to ensure they are happy with their choices.
For remote interactions, dealers can use digital tools to offer consumers a similar individualized service online. For instance, live chat alternatives will increase the sales staff’s accessibility to customers who have inquiries or need information.
There are various methods for offering live chat support, including:
- Contact page
- Help/FAQ section
- Chat bubble
- Mobile application
4. Encourage Customer Feedback to Improve the Process
Customer experience optimization is a continuous process that requires ongoing refining and polishing to keep pace with evolving consumer demands. That experience is a critical differentiator for automotive customers, and not iterating often may cause a dealer to lose ground on competitors.
Successful dealers encourage customers to complete satisfaction surveys to understand more about the dealership’s areas of strength and weakness.
Suggestions for creating a successful survey process are as follows:
- Provide an incentive or reward to encourage survey participation.
- Distribute the survey to the right client touchpoints
- Use a sufficient sample size
- Limit questions to those that help meet the objective
- Begin the survey with your simple “warm-up” inquiries.
- Avoid rhetorical inquiries.
- Use yes/no questions and rating scales to simplify the survey
5. Reconnect the Sales and Service Departments
However, not all journey touchpoints are digital, and dealers must strive to improve face-to-face experiences. One such strategy is creating a seamless transition from the sales to the service department.
Sales teams should direct customers to the service area when appropriate and present them to the department manager or adviser. The “service walk,” as most industry participants call it, was once a routine exercise in the sales process, though dealerships have removed it in recent years. However, the service walk is still a fantastic strategy to improve service loyalty.
Dealers should remember that when it comes to vehicle maintenance, customers typically view dealership service departments as a primary source of expertise. When dealerships have the data and can speak intelligently about the customer’s driving history and needed repair costs, the service drive becomes an effective platform for discussing trade-ins.
Creating the Best Automotive Customer Journey Requires the Best CRM Solution
The five strategies listed above are critical to creating the automotive customer journey that the modern consumer expects. Offering solutions specific to their needs is essential for ensuring they have the most fantastic experience possible at your dealership.
However, successfully doing so requires investing in the industry’s best CRM technology that provides the personalized, seamless experience necessary to compete in today’s fast-paced, tech-heavy environment.
Contact us today to discover how Affinitiv’s innovative, data-driven solutions can help your dealership improve the automotive customer journey, convert leads, and produce more revenue.
All | September 19, 2023