STEP 2: TREAT EVERY LEAD LIKE A WALK-IN
This is the biggest step, because leads don’t keep the lights on. For dealers to grow sales (at lower labor and advertising costs) we need to fundamentally shift our thinking around leads as an industry. Now more than ever, we need to view websites as your digital storefront (even your primary storefront), and take the same level of customer service you expect in-store, online.
So, imagine if a customer walked into your physical store interested to browse your inventory and discuss financing — and you gave them a clipboard with a form, asked them to fill it out, and then told them you’d be in touch sometime soon to answer their questions. Letting that shopper walk out of your physical store without trying to help them in the moment would be crazy, and yet hundreds of shoppers are likely having that same exact experience on your website every single day.
Bob in your digital showroom is just as real as he would be in your physical showroom, so you need to engage him just like you would there. That’s why it’s critical to seamlessly pair your digital retailing tool with an advanced messaging platform like Conversations™ that can simulate your helpful customer service with instant answers, helpful materials (vehicle details, brochures, videos), and live video chat to talk face-to-face and show the customer around the vehicle. Just like you would in-store, you need to be able to sit down with him and talk through the specific financing options he’s looking at and collaborate to close the deal. Basically, you just need the tools to be available to help customers online, the same way you wouldn’t leave your physical dealership completely unstaffed during business hours.
If you don’t catch the online shopper in the moment, you should still treat them like a walk-in. That means not using the old lead form follow-up process. These shoppers have saved and customized specific vehicles and explored payment options, so your follow-up needs to acknowledge that specific progress they made and seamlessly pick-up where they left off — just like they had an appointment with you yesterday and are now back in your showroom. Automated emails and uninformed phone calls will cause a total disconnect in their customer experience — making them feel like they need to start over — so it’s critical for you to treat them like walk-ins you already know.
While it’s worth a whole other blog to talk about, texting is the best way to follow-up with these customers for a personalized experience that actually starts a conversation, because 76% of follow-up phone calls will go unanswered (likely far more now that iPhones block unknown numbers). Your paired messaging platform can make this follow-up process seamless so your team isn’t texting from their personal numbers.