Cutting-edge Customer Experience Management (CXM) that ensures customers’ car-buying experience is a positive one will prove the key to success in 2021 and beyond.
Retailers that do the best job creating that positive customer experience will not only survive during these unique times but emerge as leaders in the eventual post-pandemic economy, Frankie Russo, founder and CEO of 360 AUTO, said.
“Being there for every step of the customer car-buying process has never been more important. A good experience creates happy customers, repeat customers and great word of mouth, which builds customer loyalty,” Russo said.
But how do you deliver that? It starts here:
- By engaging with the right buyers at the right time by utilizing and applying rich data to automate highly customized one-to-one messages on all digital media platforms to increase your dealership’s lot visits, sales and market share.
- By elevating the path to purchase, by bringing the customer experience full circle through consistency in every step of the car-buying process in a digital retailing world.
- By empowering your dealership’s sales and BDC teams with more enriched data around each conquest and retention prospect to build better relationships through customized experiences.
These three tenets of digital retailing technology, said Russo, empower everyday dealerships to deliver an experience that, to date, only Carvana and Tesla have offered.
Dealers have historically made financing so unappealing for their customers that Toyota has made it a worldwide initiative. In fact, one survey showed that customers would rather go to the DMV or get a root canal over working with a car dealership, with the finance teams getting the worst wrap.
To combat that, dealers that take the Amazon approach — developing hyper-personal buying experiences.
“Embracing the evolution of empowering each customer through digital retailing is a bold and sometimes scary move because it requires a full rethinking of the way things have been done for decades,” Russo said.
“And those that are willing to make the step into a fully integrated, digital-buying experience that borrows from the best of the traditional in-person transaction and marries it successfully with the newest technology are going to win the decade.”
The latest trends show that 50% of consumers, across income levels, are using digital retailing tools when they enable a faster and easier car-buying process, Russo said. When customers engage those tools, dealers experience closing rates up to 15% higher than typical internet sales, along with higher F&I profits, and in-store deals are typically completed in less than 30 minutes.
“Using that technology to better understand and connect with our customers is key,” Russo said, adding that dealerships can’t afford to treat consumers like strangers on our website and, especially, beyond our website and our brick-and-mortar stores.
Making each customer experience memorable in a digital retailing world is crucial for dealers and a way to do that by creating a personalized website for each customer, Russo said.
Recent studies show that car buyers are spending less time shopping for cars and making decisions more quickly. Coupled with today’s COVID-19 shopping experience, these trends are forcing companies to become more customer-focused than product-focused, making every single customer interaction that much more important.
“Each employee has a chance to meet or exceed expectations as they all play a part in designing and reacting to customer interactions. The hope, obviously, is that each interaction leads to greater customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.”
Nowadays, many customers come armed with more information and are ready to buy when they arrive at the dealership website and that has changed that key interaction between salesman and customer, Russo said.
Most every dealer these days will use the word transparent in their traditional media copy but still require consumers to submit emails or calls to get the “best price.” This is counter-intuitive.
“Today’s consumers are smarter and more informed than ever, and we need to treat them that way. So, today’s salesman should serve as more of a consultant as customers want honesty and transparency throughout the customer experience journey,” Russo said.
For more information visit 360 AUTO.