The 21st century car dealership customer is a complicated being. Growing up in the 20th century and experiencing the emergence of “new” technology, today’s customer is an intriguing blend of old values and new tech.
In the research phase, digital is king, with online configurators, price comparisons and email enquiries essential. Shoppers then take to Social Media for confirmation of good choices, opinions from friends and followers and background information.
In the retention phase, again digital is king – email is clearly the preferred channel for service reminders, sales promotions, customer satisfaction surveys.
However, just when you think you can put all your eggs into the digital basket, today’s customer reverts to 20th century customer and picks up the ‘phone to make that service booking or asks, in an email, for the salesman to give them a call!!
So how does a dealership stay on top of this and decide which channels to offer? The simple answer is – offer them all and let the customer choose.
A multi-media communications strategy makes sense as more customers will get the message, and be more likely to act upon it if they can respond using the channel they choose – which may be different than the channel they received the message through.
Our own research shows a significant preference to make service bookings by ‘phone, especially amongst volume brands. Prestige brand customers are more likely to make online and email bookings, if the booking forms are pre-populated, they have little patience to re-enter all of their details. Both groups prefer their reminders electronically, with over half opening the reminder on their mobile device.
Contact centre staff tell us that customers who have already received a service reminder by email or SMS are easier to make bookings for than those receiving a “cold” call as they have already begun to consider their diaries and alternative transport needs.
The email following up a sales enquiry may elicit a reply by email, telephone, or social media. Our research shows that prospects who have an email address recorded at the time of enquiry, and who then go through an email led follow up process, are twice as likely to go on and buy than a prospect who’s email address is not recorded.
Customers tell us that email enables them to consider their options and further clarify their choices or budget, without the perceived “high pressure” of a salesman following up by ‘phone. They also tell us that if they request a ‘phone call in their email reply, they expect that call to come quickly!!
The 21st century customer is a demanding, complicated person who blends “new” with “old” seamlessly. The 21st century dealership needs to do likewise.
We’d love to show you more of our findings – get in touch!