Last month, I introduced Part 1 of a two-part article series on a national Mystery Shop that Dealer Synergy conducted for a major OEM. We shopped dealerships across the country and evaluated them on communication KPIs. Part 1 focused on KPIs for phone calls and emails. This article reveals the rest of the metrics: texting, chat, social, and video. (Note: Each dealership that was mystery shopped was done so twice on different days, by different mystery shop agents to ensure everyone was given a fair opportunity to showcase their true standings.)
45% of dealers did NOT have a texting feature on their website. Of the dealers that did, 40% ranked higher than the National Average in text performance. (National Average Score is 40%.)
- 30% of texts scored between 78% and 86%
- 50% of texts scored between 48% & 59
- All of the dealerships requested a response to opt-in, and they also gave the option to opt-out or unsubscribe at any time
- Quick response time when texting
- All but one dealership sent a link to the VDP
- 80% attempted to follow up via phone
- Most did not have a clear process or strategy
- The majority of the dealerships used an outside company that did not have the ability to instantly speak with someone at the dealership
96% of text messages get read–that is a staggering statistic, and yet many dealers still do not have texting capabilities or a strategy in place! I think all dealerships should have the ability for prospects and clients to be able to text them directly from their website. But texting without a strategy or process in place can be counterproductive so just as dealers have a CRM with a library of email templates, there needs to be a library of text message templates with an escalation protocol.
20% of dealers did NOT have a chat feature. 45% of dealers that did utilize chat, ranked higher in their chat score than the National Average score (which is 36%). The score was largely based on chat content. (10% of dealers with chat features did not have a rep available during both mystery shop chats.)
Mystery-Shop Scores ranged from 23% to 91%.
- Better-performing dealers differentiated themselves by either providing a customized video or with the rep’s ability to speak with a sales specialist
- Almost all chats had personalized and fast responses, link sharing, and non-vague questions
- The majority of chats did not include a clear process, identification of urgency/expectations, trade availability, value/differentiation discussion, spelling checks
- Most chat reps were offsite with limited information to answer questions
Chat should be used to predominantly try to escalate to a BETTER form of communication like on the phone or video conference (i.e. Apple Facetime or Skype) so you can sell the appointment (which is easier to do via phone than chat). If the prospect is adamant to use chat simply to ask questions and does not want to escalate to a different form of communication, I am NOT saying to ignore this and try anyway.
Chat requires a clear strategy and a process conducive to that strategy. There should be chat templates/scripts mapped out to streamline this process. Your dealership needs to be able to get the prospect the information their looking for as soon as it is requested, and the faster the better.
The majority of dealers we mystery shopped used managed chat (a third-party company handled the chat from offsite) and as a result, they did not have the information needed on-hand to answer questions from prospective buyers.
In fact, only one dealership was able to answer the prospect’s question in real time by transferring to a salesperson. Every other chat mystery shop ended with the chat rep saying that they did NOT have that information available but they would get someone to call them back asap. Not being able to provide information at the time it is requested, can lead to the prospect losing excitement over the potential purchase, or feeling put off, resulting in him or her going elsewhere to shop.
45% of dealers’ social media scores ranked higher than the National Average score (which is 40%). Each dealership was contacted twice on their Facebook page by the prospect who was asking for information about buying a vehicle from them.
Mystery Shop Results:
- Only 33% of inquiries received a response
- Response scores were between 52% and 69%
- All dealerships had a Facebook page and all but one had a customized YouTube channel
- Almost all Facebook pages had an “about” and “Shop” button while only one had an “Inventory” tab
- 90% of dealers did NOT utilize/send video, despite being specifically asked via the Facebook mystery shop to email a video of the vehicle
Unfortunately, it seems like Facebook is NOT on a dealer’s radar as it relates to communication. In our mystery shop of dealers’ Facebook pages, we were disappointed to find out that the majority of dealerships are not prepared to handle Facebook prospects or social media communication.
Social media is a very powerful medium and dealers need to have a strategy on who is going to be paying attention to prospect and client communication on social media platforms.
There also needs to be a strategy on how to engage, converse and convert social media communication into appointments and sales. And most importantly, all of these people need to be trained on process, etiquette, strategy, etc.
22% of dealers ranked higher in SEO/YouTube channel scores than the National Average (which is 38%). Only one dealership used video in their response to the prospect’s purchase request.
Mystery Shop Results:
- The one video response offered scored a 95%
- SEO/YouTube channel scores all ranged from 27% to 53%
- All dealers did not show up on the first page of Google search video results and were not optimized for YouTube
- Many dealerships had more than one YouTube Channel, which is not good. There should be one channel to increase subscriber views thus rank in search
- Some were using their YouTube channel to simply “store” their video content
- Some of the dealerships with high volumes of videos aren’t really even “videos” at all, but rather “stitched” photos
Dealers NEED video! If the average dealership is visiting up to 10 dealerships and/or third-party websites, that means that there are potentially 10 other dealers or websites following up with your prospect sending emails, making calls, text messaging etc. Video can differentiate your dealership and keep you top-of-mind.
You should have a library of video templates for:
- CRM Follow Up (with 30+ Templates)
- Sales (End of the Month Sale, Holiday Sale, Weekend Sale, We Want to Buy Your Car, etc.)
- Testimonials / Reviews
- Value Package Proposition (Why Buy From Us)
- “How to”
- Inventory (Walk a Round)
- Inventory Review
- Appointment Confirmation / Missed Appointment
- Message from Dealer/ GM
- Dealers should incorporate video 100% of the time in their follow up strategy as well as their engagement strategy with prospects and clients.
The dealerships we mystery-shopped, were at best, performing OK. Some were at National Average (which is not saying much) but most were below. We found most dealers are not focusing on communication methods beyond phone calls and emails. Success in today’s digital age will require strategies for the “other” communication resources, such as texting, chat, social media, and video. Not focusing on these channels equals lost opportunity and revenue.
If you have any questions about this article, please email me at email@example.com.
Learn more by joining Sean V. Bradley CSP at the Digital Dealer 24 Conference & Expo for his two-part, in-depth session titled, “Blueprinting a High-Functioning (and Profitable) Internet Dealership… NOT a Department,” on April 11th from 9:00 – 10:55 a.m.
Author: Sean V. Bradley, CSP
Sean V. Bradley, CSP is an entrepreneur, published author, speaker, and award-winning international trainer. He is an eight-time NADA/ATD convention speaker and a FranklinCovey Certified Facilitator. He has earned the coveted “CSP” designation in the National Speakers Association. Sean is also a member of the elite “Million Dollar Speakers Group” in the NSA, as well as a State Association Speaker and Trainer. He has spoken at over 217 NCM and NADA 20 Groups. Sean has personally trained over 25,000 automotive sales professionals in 1,100 unique roof tops.