By Paul Muers
20th August, 2019
Innovative and creative digital offerings have become crucial for organisations across a wide variety of sectors. Retailers, media businesses, estate agents and more are competing to develop the most engaging mobile apps, the most novel approaches to gamification and the most appealing digital experiences.
At first glance, automotive dealerships might not seem like the most obvious businesses to be participating in this digital revolution. After all, the core role of dealerships is still a physical, face-to-face one – whether selling a new vehicle, or providing aftersales care for an existing one.
However, digital offerings can help dealerships, like so many other businesses, to stand out from the crowd and achieve success in a highly competitive and challenging market. Here are some ideas.
Easy online booking
Let’s start with the basics. Enabling vehicle owners to book appointments online – whether vehicle health checks, MOTs, advice sessions on the purchase of a new vehicle, specialist maintenance and so on – increases ease for customers, and can make your dealership a more convenient choice than a competitor. Of course, the simpler and quicker an online booking is to make, the better.
On a related point, ensure that your dealership’s website is compatible and responsive on mobile devices. More and more internet access takes place on smartphones and tablets, so ensuring that your customers receive the same seamless experience across all devices is a quick win.
Tutorials and education
For many vehicle owners the health and performance of their vehicle, and how they should maintain it throughout different driving conditions, is something of a mystery. Dealerships which take proactive steps to educate and support drivers through this landscape can build greater long-term relationships and a brand based on being informative and helpful. The digital possibilities for customer advice and education are endless, from e-learning courses which can become an additional revenue stream, to apps, digital presentations and even games designed to help customers learn more about how to look after their vehicle – or even choose a new one.
Customer contact and loyalty building
Long-term customer relationships rely on just the right level of communication – enough to keep customers up-to-date and remind them when an appointment is due, but not so much that they feel bombarded or swamped. Digital technology can provide a powerful platform for striking this balance, through everything from automated SMS alerts to digital charts tracking the number of appointments kept – with bonuses, of course, for the most loyal customers.
Electronic vehicle health checks
Electronic vehicle health checks provide a clear and consistent workflow for vehicle health checks to follow. This increases efficiency and profitability internally, but also provides a platform of greater clarity for customers. Technicians can guide drivers through the stages of their vehicle’s health check in a straightforward and jargon-free way, generating a greater sense of transparency and honesty, and enabling customers to ask questions and clarify points should they wish to. Electronic vehicle health checks can also help with brand-building between different sites, ensuring consistency of approach should the dealership expand.
The possibilities of innovative digital technology for automotive dealerships are broad, sophisticated and growing all the time. This most physical of industries has a huge amount to gain from innovating in the ways in which it communicates with customers.Blog