Get your store ready for the communication revolution!
Have there ever been more ways for your dealership to communicate with your customers? Email, text, voicemail drops, webchat… the list is endless. And there’s more coming on the horizon.
But before your communications can be effective, your people have to be informed and educated about the tools you have. Your teams need to be updated on campaigns, events, bulletins, initiatives. And it all starts in those sales and discovery meetings, where you’re promoting your strategies internally.
From management to PAs, everyone needs the right tools to do their job. What if there were a postcard-size outline of a vehicle’s features and benefits that beautifully and concisely summarized the reasons to buy a particular vehicle? This could be summed up on a piece of paper, or it could be digital. Statistics show that people who learn about something on an iPad or a tablet are twice as likely to buy. There’s something about the tablet that creates a comfort zone.
So every PA should have a tablet, and know how to use it. Then, your store can be pushing supporting information to those corresponding portals, as well as social media like YouTube. If they’re looking at a vehicle, or tires or accessories with a customer, they can choose from non-biased videos from sites like Car and Driver. And they’ll sit down with the customer for five minutes or so, and review that content.
Starts with owner
After the visit, the PA will put together an awesome, unforgettable email and blast it off to the customer. They’ll never forget him! When they go and shop at other dealers, they’ll remember that PA and say, “Man! That guy was good. I know that after I buy this car, he’s going to look after me, and take care of me going forward!”
But where does all that start? With the owner. They’re the ones who should be organizing these initiatives, because they see it from a holistic perspective. The owner is seeing everything at a high level—they’re not only steering the ship, but also monitoring the ship.
That’s the type of foundational building that breeds good communication and therefore, good dealer culture. How is the receptionist answering the phone? Is she listening to people? Letting them complete their sentences? Your receptionist is like your concierge.
Why not secret shop yourself? Do it through email and phone, and see what happens. Bring that to your discovery meetings, talk about it, and see where you can improve on things.
Sexy new tools
There are some sexy new communication tech tools on the horizon, and once you have your foundation in place, these can really boost your process.
For example, there’s Conversica. This is basically an artificial BDC—a computer program that communicates with your customers. Leads get funnelled into a dealership, and once the software has been programmed, it develops an understanding of your dealership and the inquiries coming in. It’s preloaded with campaigns that you can modulate to fit your needs.
If there are customers who bought winter tires two years ago, or who are storing them with you, the system can prompt them to come in a bit earlier for their tire swap-over, alignment, and so on. There’s a sales portion as well as a service portion. All you have to do is customize it initially, and the system learns from there.
This is an example of Artificial Intelligence, which has been around for a few years, but has really started to take off in the past two years as the technology improves. You have a performance rep who does the configuration for you and guides you through the process. Yes, it is resource heavy, but think of it as an investment.
Then there’s MeMail, which is an email with a video component embedded into it. When you click the button, it automatically opens up your microphone and your camera. Instead of writing a message, you can just talk. Wouldn’t it be great if your customers saw your face every time you were sending them a message?
So instead of sending something out as text, you send a video. It’s so much more engaging. Think of what the response rate would be! You could use it for internal and external communications.
But right now, these tools are just on the horizon. We’re talking about some very advanced technologies. Many stores are bursting at the seams right now, trying to be as lean as possible. At the same time, you don’t want to sell your customers short. You still want to provide a stellar customer experience.
And much of that depends on the communications you have in place already. Taking the next step—going beyond conventional communications— is still in the future. But you have to find the time to examine your processes and get them working as best as possible. In these uncertain times, it’s worth it to ensure that you’re optimizing all your dealership touchpoints.