Technology trends are disrupting the automotive market, leading the industry into a new era of how dealerships do business. From autonomous driving, ride sharing, electric cars, and customer connectivity, these automotive evolutions will impact your facilities, how you recruit and retain your dealership team, your business models, and how you communicate with your customers.

What can you do today to solidify your success in a changing landscape? Leverage your CRM and answer your phone properly! The availability of data and the increased importance of managing your CRM system will define your success and the longevity of your dealership, while the core value of your business model remains unaltered. How you execute and measure success at every customer touch point is vastly different, but these goals should always be at the top of your list:

1. Attract customers to your dealership
2. Convert customer to loyal owners
3. Retain owners

Attracting Customers To Your Dealership, Both Physically and Digitally
How do you measure the success of your marketing and advertising dollars?
In the past, success was measured by lead and/or traffic volume. With the improvement in data analytics, CRM tools, and overall business acumen in today’s tech era, the measure of success is about improving conversion and measuring marketing ROI.

How often do you check your digital presence as it relates to digital reviews, social media, and website?
How often do you check your website analytics?
How often do you measure where you are spending your advertising/marketing dollar and what “type” of traffic it is driving to your dealership?
How much are you spending on print ads, TV ads, Direct Mail and how are your measuring the marketing ROI?

In today’s marketplace, understanding your marketing ROI – where you spend your marketing dollars and what you are getting in return — is critical in setting up your success for the future.

Converting Customers to Loyal Owners
How effective is your process in maximizing and measuring every customer interaction every time? ?

Previously, success was measured by sales and gross. We are in a volume business with manufacturer’s incentivizing not only our vehicles, but our volume. Every customer touch point matters. Who is your best salesperson? How do you know? How do you measure a sales person’s success?

Find out how many leads do they get and how many are they able to close.
Look at how many phone calls they answer. How many phone calls do they make?
Check the number of qualified leads they are putting into your CRM system.
The automotive dealership experience is no longer being compared to just the automotive industry, but to the consumer’s experience at the Apple store, Amazon, and Wegmans. The customer experience is no longer industry-specific. How are you maximizing every customer interaction? How many customers are you losing because you don’t pick up the phone and you don’t manage your data?

Retaining Owners
How many touch points do you have with your owners and how do you measure success? Is a blanket email blast, direct mail, follow up message enough in today’s marketplace to keep owner’s loyal? What are the expectations of your customers and how important is the relationship? It is no longer about selling cars; it is about selling mobility and connectivity. How do you connect with your customers and how do you manage ownership lifecycle?

As identified in Deloitte’s research, “The Foundation of Future Automotive Retail: “Omni-channel Customer Engagement.” the shift from product to customer experience means that it is critical to optimize customer connectivity. Are you communicating with your owners in a way they want to be communicated with?

While all of this at times seems overwhelming if you focus on one thing today, make sure you’re focusing on your phones!

NADA suggests that advertising expense for the average dealership is roughly $494,000, or approximately $616 per new unit retailed. How much of that money is wasted because there is no strategy and/or process in place to manage the phone calls coming into your dealerships from your marketing efforts? How well do you manage your incoming calls? “We have a BDC” is not an answer.

Do you have a strategic partnership with a company that can measure the success of your phone call process?
Do you listen to incoming /outgoing phone calls on a regular basis for all departments?
How do you track all your incoming calls?
How do you track how many phone calls have been dropped due to long wait times, transfers, or just not picking up the phone?
How many phone numbers does your dealership have? Where do those phone number go?
Are you going to wait for the future to define your success or are you going to define your success and take action today?