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5 ways dealers can boost customer engagement

5 ways auto dealers can boost customer engagement

Engaging with your customers is critical for ensuring your auto dealership’s growth through acquisition, repeat business, and referrals. As the world has shifted to prioritize digital experiences, customers are now in control of how and when they engage with companies—and the car-buying experience is no exception.

To set your dealership apart, you need to provide real-time personalized experiences. It’s all about relevant, convenient, and responsive engagements.

Here are five ways to boost your customer engagement*:

1. Leverage a CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools are used to collect and store customer data in one place, accessible across your company to create a seamless and personalized customer experience. With your customer preferences at hand, you can strategize and align your engagement points based on the individual’s or group’s desired experience.

For example, a CRM can help you automate touchpoints on your website, via email, through social media channels, and even inform you of how a customer may want to be approached (or left alone) on your lot. Historical data will help you track and measure the success of your various touchpoints.

2. Collect and respond to reviews

Today’s consumers need to know they have been heard and that their voice matters, so be proactive! There are many automated survey tools available to reach customers via text and email, in addition to classic paper cards and phone calls. It’s key that you collect feedback while it’s fresh in their mind—find out how their experience with your auto dealership has been and how you can improve. Learn how they feel about the buying process, vehicle selection, and service at your dealership.

But most importantly, use the feedback to make adjustments and improvements. If your dealership makes changes based on customer feedback, thank them and let them know their input really matters. (Tip: this customer-centric attitude goes a long way on social media channels!)

Customers are now in control of how and when they engage with companies—and the car-buying experience is no exception.

3. Take advantage of Google Business tools

Many people look companies up on Google before giving them any business. Google reviews and business profile info can make or break their first impression of your dealership. Make sure you have claimed your auto dealership’s business profile on Google and fill out all the company info, from business category details to key contact information. Having the right information on your profile will help your business appear higher in Google search results, putting your business in front of more eyes.

Take advantage of features like having customer questions sent straight to your phone via text or setting up a booking calendar. It’s an easy (and free) way to make sure you’re front and center when a customer starts to research a future purchase.

4. Simplify their experience

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and walk through the buying journey. How easy is it to search for inventory online or connect with a dealership representative? How can they get updates on their purchase or schedule a service? Continue to review and make process improvements to these everyday customer experiences so you can save them time and stress. A easy and positive dealership experience is what leads to repeat business and referrals!

5. Respond quickly

As the attention span for consumers continues to narrow, your opportunity to effectively reach a customer or prospect also narrows. Based on research from the Nielsen group, the average consumer leaves a webpage after 20 seconds—so you have to hook them in the first 10 seconds. If consumers don’t get the answers they’re looking for, or if they don’t get a response right away, they’ll find the answer someplace else and you’ll lose a potential sale. Responses to calls, emails, chat boxes, or social posts need to be measured in minutes, not days.

While the number of touchpoints with your customers is certainly important, the quality of those interactions is equally, if not more, important. Employ these tips to boost your customer engagement and make your auto dealership the best in the market.

Disclaimer: Automotive Finance Corporation does not guarantee any results and examples are for illustrative purposes only. Dealers should consult their own advisors to make independent business decisions regarding customer engagement.