Remote Sales: 3 Areas of Focus in Future-Proofing Your Phone Experience
by Cory Wright
Every morning the leadership team at CallRevu meets virtually to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on the various different regions which we serve. In these meetings, we review data from websites such as:
This data helps us marry the impacts of the coronavirus to the data we collect from each of the calls we monitor for any particular region. Right now, the data points to dealers finding innovative ways to meet the needs of their customers, specifically those who are sheltered in place or observing social distancing and prefer to limit their exposure as much as possible.
Companies like GrubHub, Uber Eats, Amazon, Walmart, Tesla, and Carvana have all adopted a remote selling strategy well before Coronavirus hit in America. Their early entry into this arena provided them with an edge when it came to process and logistics, but the playing field is still wide open for improvements. While the adoption of remote sales in automotive is in its infancy, there is a growing niche of customers who will experience this and demand it in the future.
In that theme, we’ve collected a series of best practices as they relate to phone process, people, and technology.
Phone Process: Start with a Remote Aligned Battle Plan
When it comes to remote sales, the “just get them in the door” mentality will not work. The goal of an in-store appointment shifts to one of deep commitment in understanding the needs of our customers.
Today’s customer is shopping with a few major concerns. Those concerns range from the safety of themselves and their families, their current and future financial position, the time the process will take, to the threat of making a bad decision based on the lack of traditional and familiar shopping options.
Thus, we should craft a process that caters to these major concerns directly. Two of the most frequently asked questions that we hear include: Are you open? And how do we test drive/buy a car? This can easily be addressed by not only writing out what the process looks like, but creating an explainer video. This information should be on your website, social media, and ingrained in the minds of everyone who might speak with a prospect interested in purchasing remotely. If it’s difficult to explain, start over and try to make it as simple as possible. The real goal is to create something that relaxes the mind of your customers and makes them feel safe. Also, consider adding a remote sales hotline that routes to a series of desk lines if your dealership is open, or a network of cell phones with agents ready to explain the process and help customer’s start their maiden remote sales voyage.
In a remote sales model, not only do we need to be prepared to explain the “how” but also the “what." The normal concerns of availability, pricing, trade values, and payment become monumentally more important when conducting most of the buying process remotely. An agent's inability to sound confident in finding the answers to these questions is one of the quickest ways to lose a customer; that is why process becomes so much important in a remote sales environment.
Due to the fact that each dealership is different, the best process of providing information is one that is tailored to the top 5 questions asked at your dealership. You can review your own call data to determine what these 5 actually are. Once determined, it is helpful to outline the quickest and most transparent way to answer these questions on the customer's first call. However, not every question is easily answered in this fashion. For instance, some agents may struggle to calculate lease payments or provide sight unseen vehicle values. In these instances, it helps to arm your team with what to tell the customer. Simply explaining how you will obtain the information the customer wants can go a long way to satisfy them from a trust perspective.
Remember that the best process is one with some intuitive flexibility to accommodate a diverse customer base. Some customers will want to do almost everything online, while others may need a few phone calls to slow walk them through the process.
Once you’ve stamped out your remote sales process, be sure to inspect your phone data for not only compliance to the process, but roadblocks that make it difficult to follow. Each roadblock presents an opportunity to fine tune what could be an extremely lucrative new avenue to out-sell your competition. If you currently use the CallRevu call monitoring platform, our 99.9% uptime will allow you to always keep tabs on calls that aren’t connecting or are mishandled without having to listen to every single call.
People: Remote Doesn't Mean Robotic
Coronavirus has pushed consumers from nights out at their favorite restaurant to remote chow via services like GrubHub and Uber Eats. If you’re into the details like blue cheese for your wings, or have a food allergy, you already know how much the details matter. Food is a touchy subject for me, so when an order is incorrect, it’s a waste of a nominal $60 and leaves me mildly “hangry.” The impact to consumers ranges from looking the other way, to getting grumpy for a few hours and leaving a 1 start review, or something much more severe if a food allergy is involved. On the light side of a broken process, you have a customer who looks the other way because remote chow is relatively new in its existence and mistakes are expected.
But when it comes to purchasing something 1,000 times the cost of a takeout order, the stakes become that much greater. The details matter exponentially more, that’s where people come in and that’s why you must get the customer experience properly dialed in.
Start by training your team to walk in the customer's shoes. If you use an online retailer, have them all test-drive the experience as if they were purchasing a car. See how far they get and what questions they have. If you aren’t using an online retailing tool, consider practicing the DIY approach.
Once you’ve mastered being helpful and providing transparent information, brand yourself by simply being…yourself. Customers are picking up the phone in order to obtain information and establish connection with someone they can trust. They are after all not only making a major purchasing decision, but making it during a global pandemic. They’re putting their life in your hands. Being genuine is a great way to show them who you really are! Doing this makes the conversation flow more naturally and makes it easier to obtain contact information to provide even further transparency and follow-up. Also, be sure to ask customers their preferred method of communication. Never assume that your customer prefers one over the other.
Being friendly and empathetic is also critically important during these times. A meaningful compliment or display of empathy is best-placed when you are practicing active listening. Everything we do is made easier when we listen, confirm, and clarify what we are hearing.
Unsure if you’re employees are doing their best on the phone? CallRevu provides 20+ employee level performance metrics that can help you to dial in your CX.
Technology: Leverage Tech to Humanize the Customer Experience
Often the use or overuse of technology can make an experience seem too robotic for the pallet of today’s customer, but that doesn’t have to be the case with remote automotive sales. For instance, when it comes to first impressions, we know that body language makes up the largest portion of influence. All that a customer can hear over the phone is our tone and whether we sound to be smiling or frowning. For this reason, we’d highly recommend becoming proficient in the use of video and webinar tools like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, and/or Bomb-Bomb. These resources allow you to share your screen and your face simultaneously. They can help you round off the rough edges of what could feel like a clunky and life-less process, especially since remote auto purchases are new for most.
There is also huge value in connecting each leg of your customers journey. For instance, a customer may begin on your website, migrate to the digital retailing platform, submit an inquiry, and then call to check the status of their inquiry. The entire journey should be merged together in your CRM. At CallRevu, we support CRM integration to help you find all of your customer interactions in one place. Leveraging this helps you have more efficient and effective conversations with your customers.
Remember, only 20% of retailers are using professional online retailing tools. Of those, a large majority are in the first few months of leveraging this new technology. Even if you haven’t found one that works for you, you can DIY your way through remote sales by leveraging everything we mentioned above.