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The Connected Dealership: Communicating to Keep Up With Today’s Consumers

How connected is your dealership? Most of today’s shopping is done online, leaving dealerships with less foot traffic than they have ever had before. 63% of shoppers under the age of 35 recently reported they visit two or more dealerships before purchasing, however, only 53% of those over the age of 35 reported the same thing, with this demographic doing most of their shopping from the comfort of their own homes. The statistics dip even more for women, 46% of whom reported they visited one, or even zero, dealerships when shopping for a car. This makes it very important, now more than ever, to make a lasting first impression, make it easy for your customers to access necessary information, and ensure your dealership is the ONE they end up visiting.

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In order to help your dealership attract and retain the attention of customers, staying connected is key. 80% of auto buyers contact dealerships by phone. And startlingly enough, the average dealership misses around 115 calls per month, quickly losing the attention of potential customers who are seeking your attention. Many dealerships are combatting this dilemma by employing outsourced contact centers in order to ensure they catch all calls coming into the dealership, and are able to quickly return them. This can help dealerships gain an edge over competitors and maintain overflow so customer calls and questions can be handled efficiently.

Your Dealership’s BDC

A dealership BDC (Business Development Center) or call center, ensures leads are continuously provided to your sales professionals. Not only is this the place information is stored and organized for qualified appointments, it’s also the go-to spot for tracking customer interactions and information, so that your sales pros always have the most relevant and timely data to help them make sales. An effective BDC serves as professional marketing assistance, helping you follow up on customer interactions and maintain communication with potential clients on an ongoing basis. Whether you’re targeting repeat customers, previous no-sells, or current in-market shoppers, the information in your BDC will help you stay in touch with shopper needs and communicate with every customer throughout their shopping journeys.

Maintaining contact with potential customers is important in order to get them to make a trip to your showroom. Once customers reach out to your dealership—via phone, email, or social media—they expect a timely response. In fact, customers who receive a response in less than ten minutes are 3 times more likely to make an appointment. This creates foot traffic into your showroom, and when asked to make an appointment while looking at cars, 60% of customers end up making a firm appointment. Out of those customers, 50% end up making a purchase that day, simply because their phone call was answered, someone responded to their email, or someone replied to an online request. Imagine selling cars simply by being responsive and replying to consumer requests!

Connection is the Competitive Edge

To give your dealership an edge, employee communication should always be a top priority. A decade or so ago, communication systems weren’t always feasible, due to large initial costs of equipment and installation, however with the continuous innovation that’s available in the marketplace, more and more dealerships are taking advantage of new ways to make communication part of their overall infrastructures. This allows information to be cross‑referenced across all company databases and gives real‑time updates whenever they are needed. AutoAlert’s Pando is a great example of such a tool, offering an efficient flow of information between team members pertaining to specific processes, teams, or topics, as well as improving the overall customer experience through team productivity.

Studies show customer satisfaction and happiness begin to decline after 90 minutes at the dealership, so anything that can be done in order to get closer to that mark makes for a more satisfied customer. While it may not be possible to complete a car-buying transaction in that amount of time, shoppers see the effort you put into making smoother, easier processes with them in mind, and that goes a long way toward earning their satisfaction.

In today’s world, it’s all about efficiency; patience is a thing of the past. Nobody has time for long, drawn-out processes, and when your dealership stays on the lookout for quick, easy processes that keep shopper needs at the forefront, you’ll keep them coming back when it’s time to buy and service their vehicles. By keeping your focus on continuously improving communication and building quality relationships with shoppers as they interact with you in the marketplace, you’ll earn trust and loyalty that will boost your bottom line.

Kendall Billman
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Kendall Billman

Senior Vice President at AutoAlert
Helping automotive dealerships successfully leverage the potential of digital and content marketing.
Kendall Billman
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