Here is how F&I’s future spreads out before us, either a choice to migrate to global functionality with new methods of interactivity – or continue with painfully piecemeal-driven processes that put deals at risk with young and old buyers whose lifestyles are increasingly immersed in digital everything.
To shorten the learning curve without dampening sales fervor, collaborate with technology providers already innovating in this essential aspect of customer engagement. The right partner will help you achieve tactical needs while providing far-sighted strategic planning and resource advisory capabilities.
That change is abounding in F&I and it is no secret. What may not be well known yet is how selling and engagement products like virtual reality, gaming technology, and decisioning engines are already shaping how retailers engage with customers. For instance, AT&T announced it would bring virtual reality to its stores, in partnership with Samsung Electronics. This VR gear connects with Samsung phones and notebooks sold at AT&T stores, which deliver “live” experience content.
“Perhaps most important, their use of these technologies puts them more in control of deciding their shopping and buying experience.”
Not that customers are likely to sit in F&I wearing VR glasses, but this technology as applied to F&I is helping managers give more dynamic, educational, and efficient presentation experiences. A well-designed interface has a curator function by taking all possible F&I department choices and presents the most practical, yet comprehensive way to educate consumers about its products, engagement them actively, and move them toward decisions that bring them the most value.
Perhaps most important, their use of these technologies puts them more in control of deciding their shopping and buying experience. Consider:
- How presentation tools utilizing graphics, sounds, movement, and imagery break down processes into bite-size portions more digestible for the consumer.
- Mobile devices, tablets, video, kiosks and other information and experience devices provide self-service education about product features and benefits and how they influence finance or lease payments.
- Self-guided “smart” surveys capture F&I customer responses to various lifestyle questions. Responses are analyzed against vehicle data, deal detail, driving habits, person risk factors, expected duration of ownership, vehicle, manufacturer’s warranty. The result is a customized driver profile. Its design is to be used as a guide to aftermarket product offers that might best meet the customers’ risk profile the survey helped reveal.
- When correctly implemented, e-menu and e-rating simplify and speed up how quickly F&I can build successful menu presentations. Digital menus also eliminate data entry errors.
- E-Contract remittance that speeds up the contracting process.
- Digital signature capture speeds document completion. Be sure the one you work with complies with the Electronic Transactions Act and the Electronic Signature in Global and National Commerce Act.
According to J.D. Power, “process innovations such as e-contracting, combined with improvements in dealer support and a robust product offering, contributes to satisfaction increases.”
F&I menu systems using interactive menus, e-rating, e-contracting, e-signature, and e-registration coupled with decisioning engine tools enable the F&I manager to build a professional, complete, timely, and accurate presentation, more ultimately, more consistently, and more quickly.
For dealerships desiring to serve modern consumers who demand informed, individualized, and intelligent decisions, these tools offer ways to achieve those results. A good place to start is by evaluating partners who bring a balance of business innovation, industry expertise, and ability to prove how they drive F&I returns for their customers.
Author: Jim Maxim Jr.
Jim Maxim, Jr. is President of MaximTrak Technologies. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.