How do car dealerships stay relevant, provide the best customer experience and lower cost?
Updated: Mar 4
Ahead of Tagoro’s attendance at the UK’s leading vehicle trade management show, AM Live 2019, www.automotivemanagementlive.co.uk/ we look at how huge advances in business communications technology can bring dealerships closer to customers. Powerful technologies that genuinely simplify the whole approach to business communications, allowing dealerships to replace traditional phone systems as well as embracing digital channels, while potentially saving money.
The Changing Behaviours of Buyers
Customer experience is now an essential differentiator between you and your competitors.
Changes in customer behaviour and technology have overtaken the ability of many retailers to keep pace with the way consumers want to interact.
Retailers understand both the need to change and the urgency of it. In recent news, one leading national dealership is predicting that, within five years, at least 50% of its car sales will not involve a trip to the dealership, except to pick up the car perhaps. The percentage figure is even higher for service bookings they predict.
With the push to go ‘digital’ – with more and more customer interactions online or remote – it’s the driving question: “Where should I start?”
Working with our technology partners in unified communications Tagoro provides guidance on how dealerships could embrace digital approaches, to drive down costs and improve customer experience.
1. How can I lower operational costs while improving the quality of communications with customers and across dealerships?
Can cloud technology reduce costs? Many dealerships are still using hardware-based voice communication systems in each branch. They are also likely to use other disparate platforms for messaging, webchat, conferencing, social media and video too, if they have it.
If you’re one of these dealerships, a great place to start is by replacing on-premise phone systems and disparate communications platforms with a single, modern, cloud-based unified communications platform for all sites. Known in the industry as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), such approaches not only save money but can transform the way the business collaborates internally and interacts with customers and prospects alike.
Stop paying for hardware systems, upgrades, maintenance and expensive leased lines for locations. Also addresses the issue with legacy connectivity and the impending end of ISDN30
Distributed telephone systems need internal IT or external companies to support them. Consolidating in the cloud means you can put your internal technology workers to work on higher value – and probably more interesting – projects while also putting the support companies on notice, saving the accompanying fees they charge
Multiple communication systems are a productivity hinderance to users. Without UCaaS, 70% of employees can lose 32 days a year shifting between an average of 10 different applications an hour*
Separate systems for webchat, video, messaging and conferencing add cost to the business. They lack common method of storage or integration into core systems. As such the business is missing a major trick in not being able to mine this data for valuable customer insights.
In addition to the higher cost of multiple systems, the lack of unification means you cannot glean much insight from your network of branches. Getting a better understanding of your call volume and tying that into other metrics, like the number of salespeople, revenue, etc., can help you forecast sales growth, create more accurate workforce management, and even re-route incoming calls from busy branches to quiet ones.
During busy periods, can customers get through? How do you change configurations when you need to expand, adapt to trends, or just cope with daily moves, adds and changes? Moving to a cloud-based platform provides the required agility and faster ramp-up time, whether adding a new location or additional staff. Incorporating online channels, opening new locations, and providing customers with timely responses requires technology that can move at a digital pace.
2. What actions can you take to increase sales productivity?
Staffing is one of the industry’s major expenses. Helping your salespeople focus on higher-value tasks, like interacting directly with customers and making sales, is critical. Automating tasks like updating CRM systems through a communications platform is one way to give them more time to be the attentive, knowledgeable advisors consumers are looking for.
With an easily-configurable Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) you can automate call handling with frequently-asked information and keep customers and prospects up-to-date with seasonal promotions. This frees up employees to focus on customers as well as using it as a promotional tool for that temporarily-captive audience.
What capabilities do you have to improve performance of customer interactions? Having the ability to review calls and provide real-time coaching is valuable beyond just the contact centre. The key is having mechanisms in place to search, analyse, and act on those conversations to improve efficiency and the overall customer experience.
Can branch staff quickly engage the right personnel across the business? By using a common communications platform that supports instant messaging and shows presence of personnel across all aspects of the business, sales staff can instantly engage the right people in the business, improving responsiveness
3. How can we increase the use of data-driven insights to be more responsive?
Often, multiple systems and data sources prevent retailers from getting an accurate view of the customer journey.
Unfortunately, trial-and-error efforts to integrate systems aren’t sustainable, nor is maintaining the status quo. Dealerships need to capture all the valuable moments of a customer engagement and need instant visibility across their business for analytical insight.
Yes, everyone is talking about it, but data must be accurate, comprehensive, correlated and easily accessible to guarantee the insights are usable for improving business decisions and informing the customer experience strategy.
Things to consider:
How can you fill the gaps in your analytics? Instead of piecing together dozens of applications in order to build a rough sketch of the customer experience, a common platform can identify how customers are engaging with your business. When that platform integrates with your CRM, it provides a layer on additional context that not only explains what a customer did but also why and what is likely to happen next. It helps you to understand what you are doing well and where improvements could drive higher rates of conversion or retention.
How are you embedding best practices across your sales and service teams? Feedback works best when delivered right away. Companies using speech analytics can move quickly to 1) listen to and review sales and service agent performance; 2) annotate calls; and 3) quickly provide constructive coaching back to the reps to accelerate sharing of best practices.
How Can We Stay Ahead of Customer Expectations?
Customers expect your business to adjust to meet their needs as newer technologies become more mainstream. Their expectation of responsiveness has gone from weeks to days to hours to wanting immediate engagement.
A single, intelligent communications platform can bring together supplier, sales and customer service interactions, providing employees with the tools and insight they need to deliver a more responsive, personalised experience across any means, whether voice, video, social, online chat and messaging, inside the business and to the prospective and existing customer base.
In 2019 voice is still key but communication channels have diversified to team messaging, video and mobile. Younger customers and prospects will prefer messaging, video and chat
Incorporating live video for walkarounds, negotiation and customer service queries increases the geographic range for dealerships looking to interact with customers on a personal level
Integrating social media into the heart of the business communications platforms ensures enquires and issues are picked up fast, recorded centrally and feed into business analytics, supporting continuous improvement and growth. Consumer apps or social media platforms alone cannot deliver this.
Webchat needs to be integrated into core communications systems to ensure data capture and effective and timely responses.
Co-browsing and screen sharing let’s your sales agents take remote clients through paperwork, contracts and signature processes as if they are sat in front of each other
Tagoro at AM Live
If you want to understand more, we look forward to welcoming you to our stand, B46. Or drop us a line at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.
*CITE Research (www.citeresearch.com) conducted an online survey among 2,000 knowledge workers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia in January 2018.