An auto dealership is a big investment and to keep high ROI you must have constant customer flow. To ensure this flow you have to contact your customers over different communication channels. But different channels give different results. To avoid unnecessary expenses you have to prioritize these channels by their effectiveness. We have the recent statistics to help you with it. Check out the six most popular ways customers use to reach out to dealerships and the useful tips to help you improve these contacts.
Let’s go in reverse order.
6th place – Social networks
Social networks are a great leverage to increase your brand awareness and one of the crucial component of digital marketing strategies. It does work for your business as an additional way for potential buyers to get to know you and to spread information about you.
However, the share of first direct contacts with dealerships through social networks is only 1% for used car buyers and next to nothing for new car buyers.
The second thing is many buyers still prefer more traditional ways of contact.
5th place – Text messages
About 2% of all contacts to dealerships relate to text messaging. It doesn’t mean you can ignore this way of contact: 2% of 2000 are 40 potential buyers. Can you neglect 40 leads? Of course, not.
In order to catch this activity in time pay attention to the phone number placed on your website. This phone must have text messages option for the texters who may want to reach you this way. Be sure you or your sales staff respond to such messages promptly – not later than 2 hours after receiving.
Due to text messages words limit it may be impossible to give full answer within one or two messages. Try to induce customer to give you his/her email to send additional information like photos/videos of the vehicle he/she is interested in or your discount system description.
In addition, specify phone working hours, within which clients will surely receive answer, e.g. from 9am to 7pm. By providing this information you avoid confusion and frustration of 11pm texter.
4th place – Live chat
Properly working Live help ensures immediate responses to customers questions. The ‘Live chat’ call-to-action placed on your website provides visitors with confidence you are always ready to help them. 3% of new car and used car buyers use ‘Live chat’ button to initiate their first contact to dealerships.
Support specialists are your representatives. Real-time talk cuts both ways: it can be very helpful if specialist is competent and very annoying if he is not. That’s why you have to be 100% sure your support staff is qualified and customer-oriented.
In 2017 expectations of Instant Customer Service increased greatly. Of course, it’s not so easy to provide such support. You can set maximum wait time within which support specialist can find the answer, 5-7 minutes are acceptable. But never give promises you can’t keep: if you state 5 minutes, stick to this. Otherwise, you will disappoint 3% of your potential buyers.
3rd place – Emails
In total 14% of used car and new car buyers commit their first contact to dealership by email. It’s a large part of your audience and proper communication with these customers will yield a noticeable result. Therefore, a great deal of attention should be paid here. Your answers should be structured, consistent and insightful.
Here are some vital tips for answering customers emails:
- Thank the customer for the email. Politeness can never be overestimated.
- Read the customer’s email carefully. Don’t hurry to answer for the sake of answering, but for the sake of help.
- Сonfirm the customer’s email receiving as soon as possible. In most cases a proper answer requires some time, but you don’t need to wait till all information is gathered.
- Send a quick response, confirming you got the email and your team is working on the answer.
- Inform your customer when he can expect the answer. For example, within 24 hours.
Email is a great way of communication with your buyers: you can provide a full detailed answer, vehicle description, coupons and rebates, other incentives to make customer want to come to your dealership for the test-drive.
2nd place – Phone
As we’re approaching the top of our list, a good old way of communication appears – a phone. With 25% of all customers contacts with the dealerships. Think about it: you can lose a quarter of your leads due to poor customer service or vastly increase your customer’s database due to excellent one.
When a customer calls your dealership for the first time he/she has reasonable doubts: have I made the right choice? Your mission is to dispel these doubts by providing caller with great service and competency. As the proverb says, you never get a second chance to make first impression.
Active listening, empathy, smiling during conversation, calm and moderate tone are the basic components of good approach to phone calls performing. Don’t try to sell your inventory during the first phone conversation with the customer! Such manner deters customers. Let them know you don’t see money behind the person, but person behind the opportunity to make money.
1st place – Without appointment
You never know when a buyer will come to your dealership, what questions he will ask and what issues he will have. Business is like a road – you should always be prepared for the next turn. 56% of potential buyers come to the dealership without appointment. How your sales staff will welcome them? There are dozens of information about how to treat customers in a right way, we will give you 3 main rules to apply:
- Don’t judge the book by its cover
- Give-get principle
- Five “No’s” before they go
Prejudice can mislead you. When visitors in shabby clothes come into car dealership, most likely they won’t get five star service. Such stereotype can cost your salespeople a lost deal, because many wealthy people don’t pay attention to the clothes, but they will pay attention to the neglect they have undergone.
It is the principle of an effective negotiation. If your customer wants to get something from you, he should give you something and vice versa. For example, if he asks for the lower payment, you should give him it, but under some conditions: video testimonial, referral or co-signer. The idea is: never give without getting something in return and never ask if you don’t have something to offer in return.
The researches show us that in automotive industry 80% of purchases take place after fifth request to buy. The problem is that most salespeople tend to ask only three times and then give up. Why should you lose a deal if you did a great job? So remember this: five no’s before they go.
According to the statistics, the vast majority of initial contacts is owed by without-appointment visits. Such visits are often preceded by online search. The customers come to your dealership website, check the price, choose the model and driven by GPS, open your door. The thing is, if your car dealer website doesn’t provide good user experience, or there is no website at all, your door might be open only by your employees, but not by your customers. Autoxloo as a leading provider of automotive software can help you enhance the productivity of your online showroom. Contact us today and more customers will contact you tomorrow.