Today’s socially connected consumers have changed the tide in the automotive industry, from top to bottom. However, the dealership must also change, in the way that they collect data and use social media. Every day there is an increase to the number of consumers using social data and social media. Facebook has 1.7 Billion users, and Twitter and Instagram have almost half a Billion users. Customers are also using mobile phones for everything they do. However, dealerships are not utilizing this behavior to the fullest extent of their abilities. There are other ways to utilize social data and social media, saving both time and money, and it may be surprising to find out it’s in the way that you contact potential customers.
Each day the sales objective in the dealership is to reach customers. The goal being to build a rapport and to bring the customer into the dealership. As everyone knows though, this has been and will always be, easier said than done. They key is understanding the methods that a customer WANTS to be communicated with, as well as WHEN they will be available. This is a crucial point in the contacting of potential customers. With voicemail retention very poor, only 20% on average checking voicemails, and calling at all times of the day, the odds are not in the dealerships favor. These numbers decrease even further when it comes to millennials. The fact is, all consumers are busy, they’re not available at 10am on a Thursday. Between work, errands, families, and social lives, the time in which a consumer should be contacted will dramatically vary.
For this problem, there are solutions though. CRM’s are your best method of contact to the customer, but is your CRM acting in your best interest? Maybe not. In contacting customers, the CRM must be able to accurately read into the consumer’s habits and behaviors. As a customer responds, opens emails, texts, communicating in any way, the CRM must be learning these habitual meanings. Patterns begin to form, and it’s up to the CRM, not the salesperson, to establish the connecting lines between these patterns. When this occurs, the CRM will be able to notate when customers are most active. This takes the guesswork out of contact methods, and allows the sales personnel more time to make meaningful calls, and leave less voicemails.
Taking this a step further, the dealership CRM should be noting social media habits from it’s potential customers as well. If a lead posts to Facebook, or Tweets at 12:30pm and 4:30pm most days, wouldn’t it make more sense that they’re going to be more receptive to taking a call at this time, rather than a Monday morning call at 9:30am? Of course it does. But how to get there is the key. Certain companies can procure this data analysis through the use of Artificial Intelligence. CRM’s should be using algorithms to analyze when and how the customer uses social media, in taking that behavior, and pointing the salesperson in that direction when the time is RIGHT. This is crucial, and not impossible given the right CRM the dealership is utilizing. Understanding that a customer is more receptive at a specific time makes the engagement more likely, creating more chances to sell cars. Once the guesswork is taken out, the salesperson’s time is more efficient as well. This gives the sales personnel the time to focus on the needs of the customer, and to create a more perfected customer experience. Rather than to dial all morning hoping to catch one person out of a hundred.
Taking Social Data from a customer, and utilizing their Social Media habits to reach a best preferred contact method is crucial in the dealership. It will increase probability as well as the bottom line. Because, contacting customers when THEY are available and ready will always trump that of guesswork. It may end up being the difference between the salesperson sitting at their desk cold-calling, instead of sitting next to a customer in a test drive.
Author: Aubrey Hankins
Aubrey Hankins serves as Social Media Marketing Director for CRMSuite, a software company providing dealerships with industry leading, technologically advanced CRM Software. With almost 10 years of marketing and social media experience, he brings a wealth of informative automotive discussion and debate, all in order to help dealers sell more cars.