Putting the Human Touch Back into Every Interaction with Video Calls
As Elena A. Ford, Ford’s Chief Customer Experience Officer said “We know that an exceptional experience is what today’s customers want and expect and are focused on understanding those expectations so deeply and so continuously that our customers feel that we care at each and every interaction, regardless of where they meet us”
Running a dealership in the modern age is like steering a ship. There are many knobs and instruments to tune while navigating the unpredictable economic weather. Consumers today may visit a dozen dealerships online, before they pick the one or two dealers they do visit in person. The time to capture a them is when they are still researching. But building the same kind of personal relationship with a customer online is exceedingly difficult.
Many a text-chat tool, or chat-bot have found their way onto websites. Given the demands on the dealership, it is convenient, to text back to the customer, when there is nothing else to do, or even better to delegate the customer interaction to an Artificial Intelligence chat-bot altogether.
Yet that mindset, is in direct violation of “exceptional experience” the customer demands.
Video calls are the best way to bring the dealership to the customer and start the trusted relationship when the customer is ready. Statistics show that today text-chat tools result in a connection only 15% of the time. Further, even if a connection is made the communication is deficient. This is because only 7% of communication is achieved by word and text; audio adds another 30%; body language accounts for the rest of 60% if not more. Seeing who you’re speaking to in real-time creates the emotional connection and the feeling of community because we’re better able to socialize and interact with one another.
How to use video calls to stay in touch with the customer every step of the way
The relationship starts while the customer is still researching a vehicle. The video call can be about vehicle features, a walk around a vehicle that is on the dealership lot, or about unanswered and hard to research questions like financing or affordability. Rather than losing the customer to the next click, the interaction results in an appointment, and then in a sale. During the call, the product specialist can find out the customer’s hot points, buy/lease, new/used preferences; through desktop sharing, configure the exact model and options the customer desires. Even some of the paperwork can start online to accelerate the time to cash.
The visit to the dealership to finalize the sale is faster, smoother for both sides, resulting in a much higher customer survey index. On average, dealers experience 3x higher conversion ratio on video call leads compared to other sources.
Even if the relationship has not started with a video call, after the sale, during the walk-around, the customer can be introduced to the service department with a video call. This ensures that you get an additional point on the CSI, the service department introduction, and impresses the customer with the exceptional service you are prepared to offer.
The relationship is easily maintained throughout the ownership lifecycle. For example, when the customer takes a car home and has a question about dual air conditioning or app functions, the answer can be shown without making the customer come back to the dealership.
The relationship is carried through the service appointments, where the customer is given the option to finalize the appointment details during a video call making the drop-off/pick-up process smoother. A service representative can share the desktop screen, even get signatures during the call. After the car is dropped, if there is an additional advisor service recommendation, it can be explained to the customer by showing the reason of the repair increasing the likelihood of the ASR authorization.
And, when a lease is approaching the end, the customer is placed in a new car with better features, with small or no changes to their payments.
A Video Call – as the call-to action for many a print and digital marketing campaign
A video call, that the customer can initiate by the click of a button on a page, a link in an e-mail, or even scan of a QR code in a printed advertising lends itself to many a customer outreach campaign.
It can be the call to action on a Google My Business posting, making sure the customer reaches a real person;
Have a “trade-in appraisal” campaign, where customers show their cars for an accurate estimate – can be announced via a) mail b) e-mail c) website;
Have a “service special” e.g. where customers call and show tires, and you tell them if they need replacements and how many;
Place QR codes on vehicles on an off-site lot, allowing the customer to video call the dealership;
During a 30-45-day check in call, encourage the customer to video call in, share your desktop, and configure better service and insurance options, now that they are happy with the car they bought
Exceptional Experience Mindset
Changing the mindset and behavior at a fast running dealership is like changing tires on a car speeding down the highway. Yet exceptional experience is the only path to success in today’s volatile environment. Answering ever incoming call in real time and bringing the dealership to the customer are essential ingredients of that mindset.
About the Author:
Aleks Gollu is the Founder, CEO of 11Sight, that provides a B2C text/audio/video communication platform. 11Sight’s solutions combine an 800-number experience with that of FaceTime. Customers can originate private calls with no downloads, no registration, no friending, on any Android/iOS/Windows/MacOS device. Businesses have the same choice when answering. Plus, they get full control and visibility over the calls, benefit from standard features such as call forwarding, message lines; and the platform easily integrates into existing IT systems such as CRMs, websites, Facebook postings.
Smart Ways To Create A Digital Strategy With Physical Interaction
New technologies are changing the world of dealerships and OEMs. Digital transformation has changed the world of selling and servicing automobiles. Buyers are now more educated than ever, spending only 20 percent of their total shopping time at the dealership, including the paperwork and sales processes.
While a majority of their research is done online, 80 percent of U.S. auto buyers still rate con- versations with salespeople as the most useful information channel, according to Deloitte Insight. In 2019, the fittest thriv- ing dealers will be the ones to recognize and motivate the customer base with a seamless digital strategy integrated with virtual and physical interactions.
All media — digital or print — must include a call to action that allows the customer to “enter” the dealerships vir- tually, and convert those clicks into eye contact, to build trust and to result in an in-person final purchase visit.
Running a dealership in the modern age is like steering a ship. There are many knobs and instruments to tune while navigating the unpredictable economic weather, employing new technologies to increase revenue and lower customer acquisition cost. New car sales are projected to reach 16.8M units in 2019, slightly down from 17M units for 2018; meanwhile, used car sales and supplies are projected to go up while the price is projected to come down due to the influx of newly released used car inventories.
The digital transformation for the auto industry gained a tremendous amount of momentum in 2018, with the emphasis on creating a personalized customer experi- ence. Building trusted relationships with your customer for an on-going basis with every touch point becomes a critical key element for continued success. It seems easier than ever to execute with the onslaught of the availability of all sorts of communication “talk tools” — or is it? As a plethora of new technologies are coming on like a tidal wave, it’s easy to be sent into a tailspin.
It’s important to have the following elements for a winning formula:
the right real-time “talk tools”
the proper WiFi/internet infra- structure
the needed training and support- ing business practice upgrade
the monitoring analytics for necessary adjustment.
REAL-TIME “TALK TOOLS”
Many dealerships have implemented chat solutions either recommended by a CRM system, digital agencies or others as an effort to create a delightful customer experience; however, many are not meet- ing the expected benefits due to complex integration and/or application download requirements. Further, chat tools often fall short of the real-time communication.
To stand out and thrive in this new economy, it is important to choose an easy one-click communication tool that employs all the modern modalities, such as video, audio and text chat to delight customers and let them choose what is comfortable for them. Of course, video and eye-contact are the best means of building trust for the dealer, so we must break the myth that “it is all going to digital” and understand that bots are not equipped to handle unique human questions. A real-time human video chat takes care of that and the needed visual communication to build that needed trust.
PROPER WIFI/NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE
A lot of dealers have updated their soft- ware but have neglected to update their network infrastructure. An efficient net- work is the backbone of modern business. There is nothing more frustrating than having an inefficient network, which impacts the quality of communication.
According to Forester Research, one minute of video content is worth 1.8 mil- lion words. The message here is: invest in good internet speed and a few good webcams — it will make a great impact in connecting you with your customers.
TRAINING AND SUPPORTING BUSINESS PROCESS UPGRADE
Once all the digital tools are implement- ed, it is critical to modify and upgrade the dealership processes to support the change.
First, make sure to include a virtual visit to the dealership as the call to action of your digital and print media, but more importantly, make sure that you answer all incoming calls in real time. A joint effort to create the adjusted and simple business processes from the team, including GSM, or GM, and the appropri- ate service and sales staff, is paramount. Make sure real-time response with eye contact is engrained into your DNA.
REAL-TIME MONITORING ANALYTICS FOR NECESSARY ADJUSTMENT
An easily understandable real-time monitoring analytics coupled with an at-a-glance dashboard allow for quick issue identification and speedy solutions to maximize the customer experience. With the customer in the center of the focus, the key performance indicators yield insights into the effectiveness for the implemented solution.
In summary, create a smart strategy that converts web clicks to customer relationships on your digital and print media. It will build lasting trust, and result in a physical showroom visit. Maintain that contact beyond the first visit and allow your customers to get back to you any time — that is how you will keep selling.
Bringing the human touch back into the digital strategy will crown the fittest winners of dealerships in 2019.
Let Customers build trusted relationship with Your Team, not your Chat or Its Bot!
Buying a car is the 2nd most expensive decision for most people; the decision requires a TRUSTED relationship; it requires premium service. In the internet era, Video Chat is the first step in building the trust and creating a seamless customer journey by focusing on the end-to-end buying experience.
Yesterday’s foot traffic into a car dealership has become eye-balls and clicks on web sites; therefore, customers expect that “personal touch” experience at the first contact at the dealer’s web site. This is why OEMs and dealers are now engaged in the digital/social media and have added “contact” tools to their web sites to facilitate closer customer interactions.
First generation contact tools are based on SMS and Chat-Bots; they deliver limited value. The problem with a chat-bot is that it feels “artificial” and simply fails to build a trusted relationship. Further, SMS interaction is often not real time; by the time the dealer gets back to the customer, the customer has moved on. Statistics show that these tools result in a connection only 15% of the time. Lastly, even if a connection is made the communication is deficient. This is because only 7% of communication is achieved by word and text; audio adds another 30%; body language accounts for the rest of 60% if not more.
Video calls, now 50 years in the making, have finally reached a breakthrough point in technology innovation to easily handle the need for reliable real-time connection. Seeing who you’re speaking to in real-time creates the emotional connection and the feeling of community because we’re better able to socialize and interact with one another. Physical distance is now bridged by the visual digital connection technology at your fingertips. Enabled with one-click video call capability, it performs the essential tasks to ensure:
a) Instant contact with the customer b) Faster sales c) Accelerated problem resolution
To provide that personal touch experience, dealers now can provide a seamless way to accommodate each customer’s communication style and preference to include visual, audio, and text calls with just one click without cumbersome downloads and registration/friending processes. Customers no longer need to tolerate a chatbot as the only option which may not respond to the questions correctly and causes confusion and frustration during the human to bot interaction. Dealers can eliminate the risk of losing a customer due to slow or inaccurate text chat back and forth.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of real-time video communication, here are some recommendations for choosing the right solution and implementation steps:
Use only one communication tool on your website that is equipped with multiple functions to allow the customer to text/audio/video call you, anyone, or any department at your dealership for efficiency. In other words, give customer the choices. For example, allow a direct video, audio, or text chat line to reach your sales, service, part, or the front desk directly.
Choose a solution that includes analytics, so you can understand customers’ calling patterns. Analytics should include call data both from the dealership and the customer.
Create lines that distinguish sales, service, to make sure the right team members answer the right incoming calls. Make sure you can handle multiple incoming calls concurrently by different team members.
Answer every call as you would with the traditional telephone, in real time, to strengthen the personal touch effort.
Provide the ability to have video greetings and messages. If customers call you after hours, set up a process that optimizes your service and profit.
Early implementations reveal that consumers call on the real time video chat platform to:
a) Get to know the sales team, b) Discuss financing and affordability, and c) See if the exact car they want is on the lot
In the used car scenario, seeing the car before taking the time to visit the dealership becomes more important to the customer for both saving time and identifying risks.
General managers indicate that more appointments, more out of town appointments, and more kept appointments are made, thus increasing revenue for the dealership with the video call tool.
GMs and customers say that the in-dealer experience is better, faster, smoother as they can quickly identify or ask for the sales person who helped them on the initial video chat.
In summary, customers want real-answers in real-time with their choice of communication modality. Text chat only fulfills part of these needs. Using a video communication platform (including audio and text chat) emphasizes real-time interactions and builds the needed trust fast for all parties. This increases customer satisfaction and promotes both current sales as well as future repeat service revenues for dealerships.
Accenture reports that being one of the first to employ and boost your customer’s experience enables you to take part of the $2.8 billions in new revenue by 2050 for the auto industry.
Being one of the first movers to deploy a convenient, one-click video call platform expands your capacity to provide an extraordinary customer experience and adds a tremendous competitive advantage to your dealership.