You’ve probably heard the adage about building a better mousetrap to win customers, but that’s a bit hard at a dealership. Ryan Mays, the BDC manager for Cadillac of Mahwah, Buick GMC of Mahwah and Hawthorne Chevrolet, puts it this way: “The mousetrap works just fine if you use better cheese.”
The “cheese” Ryan focuses on is the role communication plays in the customer experience, giving shoppers the information they want, how and when they want it. Here are three things he’s done to encourage more sales and service opportunities:
#1 Adapt at the Speed of Consumers (Think Car Dealer Chat & Mobile Text)
“A salesperson on the floor can be a cheetah, focused on one thing directly in his line of sight. With the Internet, though, we need to be gazelles. We’ve got to keep a 360° view, be flexible and move quickly where we’re needed,” Ryan explains.
It’s one reason he’s so passionate about his dealerships’ communication options, with Contact At Once! dealer chat in all three locations and mobile text now in two. “People want information yesterday,” he says. “Email is the new snail mail; cellphones are the new laptops.”
Question: Have you looked at your dealership’s processes and technologies lately? Is your “cheese” too stale for the latest crop of shoppers?
#2 Be in the Right Place at the Right Time
Studies show it’s vital for dealers to respond within five minutes to questions and requests. Dealer chat and text have helped Ryan’s team be there to influence decisions at almost every moment, including…
- When showrooming: Ryan once had a shopper text in about a car while on a competitor’s lot and was able to win him over to their dealership. How else could that have happened? A call would’ve been awkward and email would’ve taken too long!
- During service appointments: If your hotel room is ready, they can send a text. If your prescription is ready, they can send a text. Why not do the same when a customer’s car is ready? That’s what Ryan asked, and the service advisors now love the ease of notifying customers this way. Plus, when extra work is needed, they can text that information for a faster, smoother process.
- After hours: Ryan added Contact At Once!’s Virtual Receptionist service to help shoppers when his own team wasn’t available. “I tried this because my competitors weren’t,” he notes. “If a shopper researches at night and checks out three other websites before ours, nobody answers her if she has a question. We do…and I think it shows we care a little bit more. We’ve gotten extra leads from it, too.”
Question: At what points could shoppers and service customers use advice? Are you there to give it?
#3 Train to Help
Of course, no technology is an automatic fix. “Chat and text are only as effective as the people you train to use them,” says Ryan.
For instance, his people are good at gathering customer information, but that’s not their first focus. “You have to earn their information first,” Ryan stresses. “Sure, some chatters may just shop you against other dealerships, but I believe you gain more than you lose. Look at it this way: If you don’t get their info, they could come in and you wouldn’t know it. But if you don’t help them, it’s almost a 100% guarantee they won’t come in.”
That helpful, convenient approach has been paying off. Ryan’s BDC is responsible for about 38-40% of the dealerships’ overall business with at least 10-15% of that directly from chat. And a lot of those conversations (and ultimate wins)—like the showroomer who texted—may not have happened any other way.