Creating a Digital Selling Experience For the Automotive Industry
Vehicle buying has changed dramatically over the last ten years, and many automotive dealerships (Manufacturer and Independent) have robust websites to facilitate lead generation and potential sales, as a result. With 89 percent of guests beginning their vehicle-buying journey via online research, it’s now essential that your web presence invites guests to an online showroom, intelligently engaging potential guests and giving them a personalized buying experience. Ten years ago, guests would physically visit over seven dealerships on average before making a purchase, and today they visit 1.6 stores. Because guests can find exactly what they want before they even leave their homes, the goal of dealerships today is to get as close as possible to selling the vehicle while guests are online.
Offer a Virtual Vehicle-Buying Experience
Three quarters of guests said that, if given the opportunity, they would consider conducting their entire vehicle buying process online. They want to take the time to configure their dream car, truck or SUV with that special family member or friend, in the comfort of their home. That said, an expert who can answer their questions and guide them along the way can offer a way to enhance the buying process. They want you to give them a live walk through of the actual vehicle – open the doors and see the interiors, pop the hood and see the engine – just as they would if they visited the dealership. Once they have selected their vehicle, they want to negotiate the price, handle all the financing, registration and paperwork without coming into the dealership – even have you home deliver their dream vehicle.
How to Create a Buying Process that Sells
Most people still want to test drive a vehicle or see it in person before they purchase, but the majority of the car buying process can be done remotely. The businesses that are going to dominate the auto marketplace and build stronger online brand identity are the ones that also leverage live conversational engagement on their websites to provide the most comprehensive personal service to prospective guests.
Guests who are connected with a live agent can get an up-close look at a specific vehicle. The agent can use a mobile camera to conduct a guided tour of a vehicle, focusing on the elements that are important to the guests. This is useful in new car sales, but even more impactful for used car sales. The guests can see the condition of the vehicle live without needing to go into the dealership. This live engagement feature transforms the online car shopping experience by bringing the vehicles to life for the guests.
Agents can effectively engage with an online guests using co-browsing during live engagement. The agent and the guest can jointly browse different car models, compare specs, add options, and configure a custom dream car. If the guest is ready to buy, live agents can use co-form fill to help the guest fill out applications for leasing, auto loans, or simply complete the purchase documents, thus completing the entire transaction online if the guest desires that. Providing this level of service, while the guest is relaxing at home, is a great way to drive customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty.
Carrying that brand loyalty beyond the purchasing journey, car dealers can also use live engagement to drive service and maintenance business. Guests can receive regular service reminders and can schedule their service appointment online at a time that is convenient to them. A guest can also use two-way video to discuss a maintenance problem with a live agent, allowing them to hear a funny noise the car is making or to see a dashboard indicator that the driver is unfamiliar with. This kind of personal service can help save guests’ time and aggravation, which, in turn, can engender loyalty that lasts a lifetime.
Some dealerships already use a well-built family of BOTs as part of their team to instantly perform tasks such as:
* Greet a potential guest when they enter the site and ask how it can help.
* Answer easy questions and quickly help point guests to the information they are seeking.
* Qualify guests and route them to live agents for assistance when the time is right.
These are some of the basic BOTs many auto dealers are using today, and a wide variety of additional features can be implemented to refine the customer experience, help build brand loyalty, and make sales online.
ChatBOTs are quickly moving beyond facilitating the guest’s online experience, increasingly having a larger, more direct impact on business’ revenue. ChatBOTs can be taught to speak to specific sales and marketing campaigns and landing pages, and take advantage of the time guests spend browsing from home.
Guests are online 24 hours a day and can land on a dealer’s website from many different origins. Whether they come to a dealer’s site via a marketing campaign, referral, SEO, or just an organic search, guests typically have questions about the products, services, or information being offered. Having a ChatBOT that greets guests quickly at any time, day or night, is a critical component to sales team, especially outside of regular business hours. When a ChatBOT can answer product-specific questions, qualify a guest and set up an appointment with a sales executive in-person or via video chat, potential guests have a great experience and don’t have to wait to make progress on the research and possible purchase of their vehicle. Brands with superior customer service experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue. Conversely, 72 percent of guests say a disconnected experience would make them change brands – in this case, take their business to a different dealership.
Digital Sales via BOTS and Live Engagement to Keep Auto Dealerships Thriving
The automotive industry is an extremely competitive business and auto dealers have to take every opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. It’s imperative that auto dealers use all available technology to draw in guests, including a digital sales plan that features intelligent conversational engagements that allows them to experience the showroom live online staffed by well-trained knowledgeable staff. Those dealers who invest in the best live engagement technology and staffing will be the ones who capture more sales, build brand awareness and loyalty, and draw more repeat customers.
“SHOP – BUY – TRADE YOUR WAY” is the future of the automotive Industry.
Brandon K. Hardison – Champion Strategies