Before stepping on a dealership lot, almost 60 percent of car shoppers start their search online, according to an Autotrader report. That same study also finds that almost 90 percent use devices to shop. Of those using devices, almost half use more than one device.
What does that mean for a dealership? They need to use technology to help customers during the vehicle shopping process. The majority visit third party websites, most likely because they believe the information is less biased than a dealership's website. Still, almost 60 percent will visit dealership websites according to Autotrader research. Those websites can make or break whether they do business with you. One thing that technology has not changed is the walk-in. It remains the customer's No. 1 initial contact with the dealership.
What dealership technology solutions do dealerships need to think about to boost the customer experience? Here are four things to consider.
The website is a given. Prospective customers will browse the dealership's vehicle inventory to see the prices and what's available. In fact, here are the top online activities listed in the Autotrader report:
That brings up two critical points to keep in mind about your auto dealership website. The first thing is to ensure you have a design optimized for mobile devices. The second thing is to verify that your website lists all these details. Remember almost half of those visiting your website on mobile devices use more than one. This means you must create a seamless experience that can recognize a visitor from another device.
It's critical that your address, phone number, and a map be easy to find. Customers may spontaneously decide to visit dealerships while they're out and about. They'll be looking for nearby locations on their mobile devices. The easier you make it for customers to find what they need, the better the customer experience.
Customer relationships management (CRM) software is one of the most effective tools to help sales teams track and build relationships. They can also use them on their mobile devices. This lets the sales team update the customer's information while they're out on the lot or test driving the vehicle. A CRM affects the customer experience because it keeps the staff informed on the customer's status and improves communication.
CRMs also integrate with the website, so when a customer fills out an interest form, that form funnels to the right sales rep. Technology routes auto dealership leads to where they need to go to ensure no one slips through the cracks. Once a sale is made, the customer and vehicle information need to find their way in the service department.
Customers often review their dealership experiences based on their encounters with the service department. You want technology that helps the service department operate efficiently from the moment the customer walks in or calls. Tablets are one option. They allow employees to update the customer's vehicle status and have the latest information in their hands when the customer asks.
If a customer calls to find out the vehicle's status, employees should be able to give customers an update on the spot. Technology can also remind employees to proactively follow up with a customer. Consistent communication with the customer can affect review ratings.
The service department will have its own diagnostic apps and tools. The key is to create a workflow to ensure a seamless process from the time the customer drops off the vehicle to pick up. The goal is to proactively provide the customer with regular updates, minimize wait times, and send service reminders to make it easier for the customers to remember to schedule a vehicle checkup. Bonus points if they can make the appointment online or through a mobile app.
This last piece of the automotive technology puzzle is security. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says that theft of auto parts is growing due to their rising costs. The FBI reports vehicle theft has climbed in recent years with more than 765,000 vehicles stolen in 2016. What's more is that FBI 2017 crime statistics indicate motor vehicle theft has increased by 0.8 percent.
You can increase automotive security at your dealership with live video monitoring. Stealth's trained monitoring operators use an on-site speaker to alert trespassers they are being watched. If the situation escalates, they can contact the police with information. Often, it can lead to quickly capturing suspects before any damage occurs. A proactive security solution can cost less than a security guard and watch more of the property.
An automotive security camera can help:
Technology alone is half the equation. To get the most out of it requires people and processes.
To learn more about our automotive security solutions and how it can help deter theft and damage at your dealership, please contact us.