Customer Service is Key for End of Year Sales
2021 has been a whirlwind of emotions for dealerships across the country and worldwide. From the pandemic, to supply chain issues, to chip shortages, to lack of inventory--the automotive industry feels like it has been through a decade in a year.
The confusing part is that with all of these seemingly negative elements we are fighting against, it has been one of the more profitable years we have seen. Vehicle prices are strong and dealers are making more per copy than ever while spending less on floorplans and advertising. This boon won’t last forever, and there are some elements we have taken for granted because they have not been as necessary. As leads lessen and lots look sparse, we need to control the one thing we can: customer service.
Start with your first engagement points
Great customer service does not start when someone walks into your dealership, but at the first touchpoint of engagement. That could be your website, text/chat tool, lead response, or even your Google Business Profile. Regardless of the first engagement point, your team needs to provide the best possible experience that will encourage customers to continuously do business with you. Vehicles are hard to find, brand loyalty is low, and customer service is your defining factor.
Most people’s first experience with your dealership will be digital, and there is a high probability it will be your website. And while this article is not focusing on the setup, components, and widgets that live on your site (all of these are incredibly important), it does focus on how customers engage with your site.
When was the last time you experienced your website as a customer would? Gone through as though you were searching for a specific vehicle and then tried to connect with someone? The odds are that this is not done weekly or even monthly. Take a moment and complete an audit of your site, looking for all the engagement points and then interacting with them. Here are a few things to look for:
Do you offer SMS?
The majority of your customers are coming to your website via mobile. While chat functions just fine on desktop, why not remove all barriers and offer SMS--especially for your mobile customers? The benefits are great: you are been given permission to text the customer; you have their mobile number; and while chat histories go away, text conversations do not get erased at the end of a session.
- If you offer SMS/Chat, how are your agents responding to your guests? If you are relying on 100% AI, there are questions being missed and guests who will be frustrated. Invest in your agents, train them up to build relationships, and make sure your solutions are a strong mix of Real People and AI.
Google Business Profile
Your Google Business Profile (aka GMB Page) is another highly trafficked and viewed element of your dealership. This holiday season, as customers are driving more and on their mobile devices twice as much as desktops, you want to make sure that your Google Business Profile (GBP) is filled with information and also provides a way for customers to engage with you directly
- Did you know there is a direct text function on your GBP page? It is easy to set up, and an invaluable way to connect with customers if they would rather text than all. (PS-the majority of the generation between 20-35 would rather text than call if given an option. 88% to be exact)
When you log into your GBP Manager, click on Messaging and follow the simple prompts.
If you are going to use this highly popular and engaging aspect of GBP, you need to make sure that you are either partnered with a team who will respond to these low funnel texts 24/7, or you have a team trained and ready to respond. (If you need help with this, Better Car People is here!)
And while you are in there, look for other areas you can optimize (add specials, make sure hours are correct, create events for the Holidays, showcase inventory).
Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube) are a mainstay for your dealership and a great way to build community, build relationships, and present your brand to your larger audience. Social is not a place to just post inventory and sales--it is a place to engage with customers and let them know how you are different and why they should buy from you over another brand or dealership. Here are some elements you want to make sure you highlight--especially in the Holiday Season:
- Highlight community service. Showcase pictures and videos of staff volunteering, helping in the community and getting involved.
- Give people a reason to feel good about their purchase. Partner with local or national organizations that gives back to social issues you are interested in.
- Remind people of the ease of shopping at your dealership. Share positive reviews and create videos that focus on the customer experience at your dealership.
The beauty of social media is there are many ways for customers to engage directly with your dealership. If the customer is on Facebook, they can engage directly with you on Messenger. However, just like GBP, you need to make sure that it is manned with trained agents who will respond quickly, with quality engagements, 24/7/365.
Engagement is the key to current and future success in automotive. Customers need to know that they can reach out, get connected with trained staff, and have quality engagements that will bring them further down the funnel or directly to your store!
If you are looking for a team of engagement experts, connect with us and we can help!