The customer journey and consumer expectations have drastically changed in the past decade. More and more, customers demand information and engagement on their terms. They do extensive research online and utilize social media, and absorb owner comments and ratings about products and services. They lack patience with onerous processes, perceived loss of time, or wasted efforts.
Although it’s possible in today’s world that customers may never enter the dealership to purchase a vehicle, they still want to know that attentive, personalized service is at their fingertips—whether it’s a click, an email, or a phone call away.
To keep pace in a world where attention spans are decreasing and demand is growing, companies need to ramp up the technology for both their business and customers, or else risk falling behind the competition. It’s more important than ever to make the purchasing process as seamless as possible, which requires businesses to provide their employees with the proper tools and technology.
In a car dealership, technology that drives customer responsiveness and meets consumer expectations can make the difference between closing a large-ticket sale, booking a service appointment, or losing out to the competition.
Buyers expect easy access
Buyers want easy access to information, and when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM), businesses need to provide it. Whether through online tools like one-click access to Web chat or a call to a live rep from a mobile app, the bottom line is that companies need to stay available.
Digital technology upgrades not only ensure that customers can connect with you, but also provide the ability to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer life cycle, which helps companies to better improve relationships with them.
Business owners should consider whether or not their current technology satisfies the needs of potential customers. For example, Voss Auto—a network of dealerships with eight locations across Ohio—was feeling the lack of customer engagement because of outdated technology that didn’t even allow customers to leave a voicemail when contacting the service department after hours.
After making a digital upgrade to a unified communications and collaboration program through a phased approach, Voss saw an immediate improvement: Service appointments quickly rose by 10% to 20%, which resulted in happier customers and employees.
Increased sales, more productivity
A digital upgrade can pay off for your business in several ways:
- Productivity. Upgrading technology not only helps customers, but employees as well. Voss employees reaped the benefits of connecting their mobile and desk phones, allowing them to take calls on the go or while on the lot.
- Increased sales. By providing customers with the opportunity to leave voicemails and to easily contact a Voss representative, sales increased and customer retention improved. Features like voicemail-to-email and twinning—pairing desk phones to employees’ mobile phones—enable staff members to walk the lot and never miss a call from an interested customer.
- Cost effectiveness. Voss Auto viewed its upgrade to an IP-based communications system as an investment in the future, and realized its ROI through better sales and happier customers. The company eliminated the all-too-frequent expense of repairing a legacy phone system that had become obsolete, with its replacement parts and bills that could run high for even minor repairs. Digital upgrades can often be done in a phased approach to spread the cost out over time, making them within reach of virtually any company.
Updating office technology will also allow your business to keep up with the competition. The faster, more efficient a company is, the better the outcome. With a digital communications system upgrade, companies can save money in the long run by cutting down on unnecessary tasks for employees to complete, which can increase over time.
Equipping employees with the proper communication and collaboration tools will help your dealership forge a workforce that is more productive, engaged, and satisfied, therefore helping you keep a leg up on the competition.
Mark Massingham is product marketing director at Avaya, and has responsibility for unified communications solutions for small to midsize businesses. Originally from the UK, Mark joined Avaya in 2001 and has held several roles in product management and marketing within the company. He is a speaker at numerous partner and customer events, evangelizing the business benefits that technology can bring to all organizations.