Auto dealers gain success through a personal touch – The Value of Personalization
Effective customer communication is key for dealerships – especially for the sales and service departments. Successful auto dealerships continually look for ways to improve their communications and extend a personal touch to customers, which, in turn, leads to happier customers and higher revenues. Sounds great, but how can this be accomplished? One way is to make a simple change to phone procedures by integrating your phone system with your DMS and CRM.
Let’s start with your name.
We’ve all been there. We’ve called the credit card company or doctor's office and happily given our name and details, only to find out that the person we’ve revealed our life story to isn’t actually who we need to speak to. A little put out, we're transferred to someone else, and then asked to repeat the same information again. By the third time, we're ready to scream.
The automotive industry is not immune to this problem. The sad truth is that dealerships ask customers to provide their information an average of three times during phone calls. Whether it's someone's first or tenth time phoning your dealership, this is absolutely deadly.
Happily, there's a better way. Here's how to improve the experience from the first phone call forward.
What's your name? What's your name? What's your name?
When a customer is about to buy, they are treated like the salesperson's best friend. But then a month after the sale, they call in and nobody seems to know who they are. This is frustrating for customers, and no way to build customer loyalty. And we know what happens when customers receive poor customer service – they take their business elsewhere.
Here's a good start: When a customer calls in, don't just use the standard greeting – “Good morning, Excellence Motors" –but rather greet them in a personalized way. “Hello Mr. Williams! Nice to speak to you again. I see your sedan is due for a service; is that why you're calling?” Use their name continuously throughout the call and treat them as a valued customer, not a stranger. Research shows that using someone’s name has an impact – our brains love it when we hear our name in conversation*. As Dale Carnegie put it in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” one’s own name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Personalization matters and is the heart of any strategy that values customer experience – especially in the today’s market. More than 70 percent of customers** expect a personalized experience when they walk in the door, and that’s particularly true with Millennials, who will soon account for the majority of the buying public.
Getting the 'why' as well as the 'who'
To go from asking for a customer’s name from three times to zero, the key is consistency. When a customer calls in, make sure your team can instantly see, not just the name of who is calling, but what they are calling about. When the call is passed through to the service department, make sure it knows that this customer has called to check on their tune-up or brake repair or whatever the issue is. This is the golden moment: every time they aren’t asked for their information, the customer understands that you’ve listened to and value them – and that your team members are very good at their jobs.
Personalization through phone integration
Integrating your phone system with your DMS and CRM is the best way to get all the answers you need at your fingertips. When customers call, you will have instant access to their full records – allowing you to know both their names and background before you’ve even answered the phone. You'll know whether it's a long-time customer ready for a new vehicle, a newer customer ready for service, or a parts customer checking up on delivery. And for those first-time callers, you can capture customer information from the phone call and quickly submit a lead.
Phone Integration helps you personalize calls every time – giving the customer a truly great experience. As a bottom-line bonus, it helps your teams manage more calls, more effectively, every day.
Keep it going
Customer care is about more than following up after the sale; it’s about being consistent with every call. Poor call habits create a major hit to CSI scores and revenue. A great customer experience turns every call into a win for both sides. By extending a personal touch to the customer – you show customers you care.
Using a customer’s names is part of a larger strategy that successful dealerships know to adopt: prioritize to give customers the best experience possible.
Customers are asked their information three times on average in the dealership
Build satisfaction from the moment a customer calls you
• Be welcomed by name when they call the dealership
• Have their information recorded so they never need to repeat their details
• Be directed to the right person every time
Additional benefits for the dealer:
• Know who’s calling before you pick up the phone
• Answer a call with the correct information
• Never miss a call = opportunity
• Record and check call handling quality
* Brain Activation When Hearing One’s Own and Others’ Names, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1647299/
** AgileOne “Marketing Personalization Preferences Report”, https://www.linkdex.com/en-us/inked/70-of-consumers-want-more-personalized-shopping-experiences/