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.