If 2020 and 2021 have taught us anything, it's that nothing is set in stone.
From the onset of the pandemic with its accompanying protocols until now, many industries have had their processes and perspectives turned on their head. And possibly even more important: consumer expectations have changed. Likely for good!
This includes the automotive industry and the way car buying is done. While the online, Amazon-esque era of car buying started years ago with companies like Carvana and Vroom, it has arguably never been so fast-tracked as it has been in the past two years.
Make 2022 A Fresh Start for Automotive Sales
While car dealers (and all of us, really) couldn't necessarily prepare for a pandemic, or an industry-shaking chip and inventory shortage, the power of experience and adaptation cannot be denied.
When it comes to car dealerships, there is a certain flexibility that needs to be built-in. They're not only places to purchase a vehicle; they are an oasis of service and repairs, parts, and often give back to their communities in meaningful ways.
Crafting a welcoming, community-resource perception is key when it comes to your outward (and inward!) visibility and consumer outlook. With customer expectation changes expedited by the pandemic, plus constantly evolving communication technologies, car dealers who stay in step with these shifts will see a very successful 2022 and beyond.
3 Ways Your Dealership Can Win in 2022
The topic of discussion? Who car dealers want to be in 2022 and how they can get there.
Given everything that has happened in the past two years, with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting automotive industry shifts, a fork in the path has appeared as to how car dealers engage and retain their potential customers. Ted and Carol had some insights as to how dealers can pivot to meet these challenges, and how ActivEngage can help them accomplish greatness.
1. Engage with Empathy.
While customers may seem like an introverted bunch with their attitude towards phone calls, the reality is that they appreciate engaging in customer service. Customers love advocacy when it comes to car sales; they want to feel like they aren't alone.
Having a friendly human engaging them on a dealership website brings comfort and reassurance. Conversely, filling out a form and playing the waiting game for follow-up can bring anxiety into a process that is, unfortunately, widely viewed as stressful.
This kind of connection and relatability helps make car sales. To paraphrase Ted: bits of information on the “why” of their vehicle search help car dealers relate to their customers, tying it more closely to them. You’re “creating a friend.”
2. Defy Customer Expectations.
In an era of A.I. and bots being employed to capture digital consumers, customers have come to expect rigid live chat interactions. You can surprise customers with these preconceived notions with real humans encouraged to bring their personalities into every conversation (like our Customer Engagement Experts using our fully managed messaging services).
With vehicles selling at a premium right now due to the inventory shortage, having a premium customer experience is key to capturing and retaining car shoppers and service customers for now and in the future. Customers love being pleasantly surprised!
Watch the video below to see how Carol expands on this philosophy:
3. Recognize Unrealized Potential.
Online presence is everything these days. As a business that relies on your local community, having rock-solid SEO and accessibility is not just recommended; it is basically required.
For example, your local community is filled with vehicle owners. And, virtually every single one of those vehicle owners will require service. Imagine the ROI you are missing out on because of substandard SEO and service scheduling accessibility.
Even with great SEO, it can ultimately add up to nothing if your digital dealership isn't engaging customers or encouraging them to schedule service. In short: your local community is a treasure trove of new and returning customers. With the right tools and people on your digital roster, you can maximize your market capture.
Below, Carol explains how ActivEngage’s service scheduling integrations can help you do just that.
2022 is Right Around the Corner
It's official, time flies FAST. Given the past couple of years, how are you preparing for the new year and an exciting, unpredictable future? What kind of dealership do you want to be moving forward? ActivEngage has a pretty sweet suite of digital tools to help your dealership keep both feet on solid ground in an ever-changing automotive sales landscape:
- 100% people-powered Managed Messaging
- Concierge online Service Scheduling
- Behavioral Offers & Forms through ActivTarget
- Enhanced leads with DataWise Analytics
- And so much more!
Here at ActivEngage, we love helping dealerships of all kinds meet their potential customers wherever they are in their personal customer journey. We’re looking into the future confident that our people-powered messaging and engagement options are the perfect partner for you and your dealership.