What do we know about automotive consumers today? They know exactly what they are looking for, how many you have in stock, and how every dealer in the region is pricing that vehicle. They know it before they ever call, email, or step foot into your showroom.
Something else we know: by and large, they do not trust auto dealers, nor do they enjoy the car buying process. According to the DealerSocket 2016 Dealership Action Report (DAR), 81 percent of consumers did not enjoy their recent car buying experience. Their two biggest gripes were lack of trust and that the process was too time consuming (29 percent and 19 percent, respectively).
Many auto intenders are determined to keep the brick-and-mortar dealership (and salespeople) completely out of the process until as late in the game as possible, mostly due to the “trust factor.” In fact, 61 percent of them make initial contact with the dealership by simply walking into the showroom when they are ready to test drive and negotiate without EVER having phoned or emailed anyone.
There are many challenges in this scenario for auto dealers, the greatest of which is creating loyal customers who are satisfied enough with their experience that they will frequent the service drives, refer their family and friends, and come back for their next vehicle. Yes, CRM should make your job easier, but we need to begin thinking of CRM as a tool that increases satisfaction for your customers as well.
How CRM Contributes to Customer Loyalty
Your data-mining tool allows you to send relevant information to your customers and prospects at the right time in the ownership cycle. You will want to make sure that your data-mining tool:
- “Drips” leads in through your CRM rather than pouring them in all at once
- Shows that a customer qualifies for a specific query right from the customer contact page without going into a separate tool
- Integrates well with your current CRM
Speed of Transaction
At 19 percent, the top reason auto consumers give for their dissatisfaction with the car buying process is the slowness of the transaction. Updated and easy-to-use technology goes a long way toward solving this problem.
- Mobile CRM technology makes it faster to log a customer, scan their driver’s license, scan the VIN of their trade, search for inventory, and even work a deal
- According to JD Power, the use of tablets during the payment presentation process improves customer satisfaction ratings significantly
According to the DAR, 65 percent of consumers do not service their vehicles at any dealership, let alone the dealership from which they purchased. To change the tide, you can:
- Keep in touch with your new car owners throughout the ownership cycle to keep your dealership and service department top of mind
- Provide specific messaging around service offers and incentives at specific intervals to provide maximum value to your customers
- Use an online service scheduler to make it easier for your customers to have necessary services completed at your dealership; be sure they are aware of the tool upon delivery of their vehicle
Lastly, does your CRM show you how loyal your customers are? You should be able to view how many cars they have purchased and how often they frequent your service drive right from their contact page. Act on this data! Reward your loyal customers to keep them coming back, posting positive reviews, and referring their family and friends.