Customer service is the foundation of every sale at your car dealership. If a customer experiences lackluster service, they’ll simply hop over to the next dealership in town. On the other hand, if they receive unbeatable customer service, you’ve gained a loyal customer for life.
As a result, the level of customer service your car dealership delivers has a direct effect on your profits.
In fact, 54% of car-buying customers said they would buy from a dealership that offered their preferred experience, even if it did not offer the lowest price.
With this in mind, it is imperative that your dealership offers consumers the best purchasing experience possible. Use these 11 online and in-store strategies to champion customer service at your dealership.
1. Create and Distribute Educational Online Content
Did you know 60% of the car buying process is online now? This means customers are searching for information long before they consider visiting a local car dealership.
Consumers are researching everything from the gas mileage to the safety features of their future vehicles. Take time to create educational and intriguing content that will help guide and inform a consumer’s future purchase decision. This content can take the form of:
- Blog posts & articles
- Landing pages
In addition to enlightening them to specific vehicle information, this positions your car dealership as a thought leader and helpful entity. Consumers aren’t necessarily looking for the lowest priced vehicle. They’re searching for a car dealership willing to help answer their questions and identify the right car for their lifestyle.
Remember to also develop online content focused on post-sales topics. Once a customer drives off your lot, they’ll have concerns about car parts, specific maintenance, and so much more. By having this content readily available on your website, you solidify your ongoing and trusting relationship with the customer.
2. Leverage VIN Specific Advertising
Since customers are searching for vehicle information online, you can help them find their perfect car in a matter of minutes thanks to VIN Specific Advertising.
VIN Specific Advertising pairs your current inventory with a customer’s search intent, sending them right to the vehicle that best suits their interest. This advertising technology puts your cars in front of consumers on Facebook, Google, and other websites they utilize. Plus, you can use this advertising technique to target customers who have been to your dealership and inquired about a vehicle but didn’t commit.
To boost their profits, a Honda dealer in Tennessee experienced a 214% increase in click-through rate using VIN specific Facebook remarketing, rather than standard Facebook remarketing.
3. Invest in Video Marketing
In the automotive industry, customers will always have questions throughout the entire sales process. This is where your sales, service, and support teams come into play.
According to Vidyard, car dealerships can resolve support cases and customer inquiries 25% faster through video.
For example, your service department often receives customer questions about simple maintenance issues, right? Create videos for customers to learn how to solve this problem themselves. Through a recent survey, Wyzowl discovered 68% of customers would rather watch a video that explains how to solve the problem than calling the business to speak to their support team. And, Google found that the average watch time of “test drive” videos on YouTube has grown by more than 65% in the past 2 years.
Through video marketing, your team can educate consumers, cut down on time explaining certain topics, and improve productivity and profits all at the same time.
4. Allow Customers to Give Feedback
When looking for ways to provide value to customers, allow them to voice their opinion about their car buying experience. Use an internal survey tool which asks new and existing customers to comment on:
- The sales process
- Their salesperson
- The quality of your facility
- Their new vehicle
- Their level of satisfaction with the entire experience
- Any other areas of interest
After receiving feedback, circulate it internally to provide your team with consumer insight. This will help them better understand the needs and wants of your customer base and formulate ways to enhance their sales and customer relationship tactics.
5. Encourage Your Sales Personnel to Use Social Media
You’ve seen realtors attract new clients by promoting their listings on social media; why not encourage your employees to do the same?
Inspire your sales team to create professional social media profiles on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms to grow a local and regional following. This gives your sales team the creative outlet they need to boost their sales numbers and build ongoing relationships with customers.
These social profiles give each sales team member the ability to showcase the latest inventory, educate customers about the car buying process, and speak one-on-one with prospective customers. After all, 22% of car buyers used social media as a source while shopping for new vehicles, according to J.D. Power!
6. Shorten the Sales Process
Researchers have found that only 46% of customers are satisfied with the length of their car buying process. This means the majority of consumers are not happy with how long the entire process takes.
Do everything in your power to shorten the sales process for consumers while still providing an exceptional level of value. On top of educating consumers before the first contact, other ways to shorten the sales cycle include:
- Using digital signature technology
- Leveraging online forms
- Having high-speed Internet in your dealership
- Allowing customers to schedule test drives online
Plus, when customers contact your dealership for information or a test drive, have them fill out a brief questionnaire about their car buying needs. This will help inform your sales team and allow them to understand a customer’s needs more quickly.
7. Offer Superior Amenities
If you want to offer your customers an unbeatable experience and service (which you do), make sure your dealership’s amenities are unparalleled.
Every dealership has a cheap coffee maker, waiting room, and a pile of magazines. So what?
Make sure your dealership shows customers they’re taken care of with amenities that blow them away.
Remember, customers don’t want to spend their time at your dealership. So, you don’t need to build amenities they don’t want. Focus on the amenities they will always want if they have to be at your store. Just make sure those are first class.
Consider investing in a top-of-the-line coffee and drink maker. Offer a shuttle service while their car is being worked on. Transform your waiting area into a lounge with TV, books, free WIFI, comfortable seating arrangements, and complimentary snacks.
When sending your customers their post-purchase surveys, ask what amenities they’d like to see in your dealership.
The more at-ease customers feel in your facility, the greater the likelihood of them becoming lifetime customers!
8. Celebrate a Company Culture of Helping
When the success of your company relies on how many cars are sold, it’s easy to focus only on getting customers in cars. But from the customer’s perspective, this hard-sell approach is disingenuous and uncomfortable.
To improve customer service and boost overall profits, create a company culture focused first and foremost on helping customers.
By taking the time to answer their questions or go above and beyond to resolve an issue, you show customers that your team cares about their needs, concerns, and experience.
Teach your sales team to listen to customer concerns and be creative in solving their problems. Sometimes the most lucrative sales are devised from simply helping a customer out.
9. Focus on Employee Happiness
Of course, your employees can’t provide the best customer service possible if they don’t feel supported. The happier your employees are, the better they can serve your current and future customers.
On top of a steady paycheck and benefits, ask your employees what they need to perform their job best. While you may not be able to fulfill every request, do your best to make employees feel happy and motivated while at work.
In a recent move. crush. count. podcast, Scott Joseph interviewed Sandy Cerami on creating a winning culture to differentiate your brand and dealership.
10. Transform Your Mistakes into Sales
Mistakes and lackluster customer experiences happen. It’s inevitable. We’re all only human, after all.
But you don’t have to let those poor experiences linger.
Instead, teach your sales team to follow up with those customers and figure out how to rectify the situation. Studies show that 25% of those contacted after a mishandled situation will convert.
Do your best to remedy whatever the original problem was and work to earn the trust of the customer. This shows customers that your team cares about the level of customer service they deliver and, in turn, creates lifelong customers for your dealership.
11. Make It Easy for Customers to Contact Your Dealership
Thanks to chat tools, email, and social media, customers can speak with your dealership beyond typical service hours. Ensure that customers have several options for communicating with your dealership when it is most convenient for them.
And, during normal business hours, do your best to have a process for answering every call that comes through. Automotive industry callers convert 30% faster than web leads, according to Forrester!
Escalate Your Dealership’s Customer Service With These 11 Strategies
Choose the customer service and online marketing strategies that work best for your dealership and get started on boosting profits today. J&L Marketing is ready to be your partner through it all.