Buying a car is the second most expensive decision for most people; the decision requires a trusted relationship; it requires premium service. In the internet era, video chat is the first step in building the trust and creating a seamless customer journey by focusing on the end-to-end buying experience.
Yesterday’s foot traffic into a car dealership has become eyeballs and clicks on websites; therefore, customers expect that “personal touch” experience at the first contact at the dealer’s website. This is why OEMs and dealers are now engaged in the digital/social media and have added “contact” tools to their websites to facilitate closer customer interactions.
First generation contact tools are based on SMS and chatbots; they deliver limited value. The problem with a chatbot is that it feels artificial and simply fails to build a trusted relationship. Further, SMS interaction is often not real time; by the time the dealer gets back to the customer, the customer has moved on. Statistics show that these tools result in a connection only 15 percent of the time. Lastly, even if a connection is made, the communication is deficient. This is because only 7 percent of communication is achieved by word and text; audio adds another 30 percent; body language accounts for the remaining 60 percent, if not more.
Video calls, now 75 years in the making, have finally reached a breakthrough point in technology innovation to easily handle the need for reliable real-time connection. Seeing who you’re speaking to in real-time creates the emotional connection and the feeling of community because we’re better able to socialize and interact with one another. Physical distance is now bridged by the visual digital connection technology at your fingertips. Enabled with one-click video call capability, it performs the essential tasks to ensure:
• Instant contact with the customer,
• Faster sales and
• Accelerated problem resolution.
To provide that personal touch experience, dealers now can provide a seamless way to accommodate each customer’s communication style and preference to include visual, audio and text calls with just one click without cumbersome downloads and registration/friending processes. Customers no longer need to tolerate a chatbot as the only option, which may not respond to the questions correctly and causes confusion and frustration during the human-to-bot interaction. Dealers can eliminate the risk of losing a customer due to slow or inaccurate text chat back and forth.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of real-time video communication, here are some recommendations for choosing the right solution and implementation steps:
• Use only one communication tool on your website that is equipped with multiple functions to allow the customer to text/audio/video call you, anyone or any department at your dealership for efficiency. In other words, give the customer choices. For example, allow a direct video, audio or text chat line to reach your sales, service or parts departments or the front desk directly.
• Choose a solution that includes analytics, so you can understand customers’ calling patterns. Analytics should include call data both from the dealership and the customer.
• Create lines that distinguish sales and service to make sure the right team members answer the right incoming calls. Make sure you can handle multiple incoming calls concurrently by different team members.
• Answer every call as you would with the traditional telephone, in real time, to strengthen the personal touch effort.
• Provide the ability to have video greetings and messages. If customers call you after hours, set up a process that optimizes your service and profit.
Early implementations reveal that consumers call on the real-time video chat platform to:
1. Get to know the sales team,
2. Discuss financing and affordability, and
3. See if the exact car they want is on the lot.
In the used-car scenario, seeing the car before taking the time to visit the dealership becomes more important to the customer for both saving time and identifying risks.
General managers indicate that more
appointments, more out of town appointments and more kept appointments are made, thus increasing revenue for the dealership with the video call tool.
GMs and customers say that the in-dealer experience is better, faster and smoother as they can quickly identify or ask for the salesperson who helped them on the initial video chat.
In summary, customers want real answers in real-time with their choice of communication modality. Text chat only fulfills part of these needs. Using a video communication platform (including audio and text chat) emphasizes real-time interactions and builds the needed trust fast for all parties. This increases customer satisfaction and promotes both current sales as well as future repeat service revenues for dealerships.
Accenture reports that being one of the first to employ and boost your customer’s experience enables you to take part of the $2.8 billion in new revenue by 2050 for the auto industry.
Being one of the first movers to deploy a convenient, one-click video call platform expands your capacity to provide an extraordinary customer experience and adds a tremendous competitive advantage to your dealership. Jasmine Shih