A decade ago selling a car online was unthinkable. However, online retailing is a reality today, revamping the retail landscape like never before. Despite higher price points and slower buying cycles, the retail environment for big-ticket items, especially automobiles, has significantly evolved. The advent of social media has further changed the retail dynamics.
Internet Promotes Elimination
Although physical stores are where sales take place, and the actual experience at the point of sale is important, the Internet plays a crucial role in decision-making. Customers now measure your dealership from a distance by scouring websites, checking and comparing prices, and interacting on social media to research products and services to decide whom to buy from. Then they call to rule you out!
This method of elimination leaves your dealership with very little room for error. A typical shopper might visit 15 websites and then call 7 dealerships to narrow their quest down to 2 dealerships to actually visit. Only if you make the cut, they will actually visit to view cars or take the test drive.
First Point of Contact
The phone is the first point of contact and therefore your first opportunity to make a good impression. A caller's journey begins when they pick up the phone to call your dealership and can be broken down to 2 questions. Callers are asking you;
1. Do you want me to be your customer (to the sales department)?
Customer acquisition – You want to make a lasting first impression so that people buy their cars only from your dealership.
2. Do you want me to remain your customer (to the service department)?
Customer retention – You want people to come back to you again and again to get their car serviced at your dealership.
In other words, people call dealerships looking for superior customer relationship management and personalized service. What can you do to meet their expectations?
Do it Right the First Time, Every Time
Consider each call to be important - your only chance to begin or maintain a lasing connection with that person. Go the extra mile to ensure that your callers' journeys are pleasant experiences that make them want to give you their business, over and over again, and recommend you. Consider all of the people and purchase decisions they will affect by word of mouth, now amplified by the power of social media.
We delve deeper into the Caller's Journey and it's effect on dealership's profitability in Caller's Journey Part 2: Redefine to Increase Profitability.