BY JAMES POLLEY
N E W J E R S E Y C O A L I T I O N O F A U T O M O T I V E R E T A I L E R S
With today’s new and emerging technology, from tablets to smartphones, our need to embrace this new and developing technology into our dealer process becomes more and more clear.
Today’s customer shops online more and more frequently, with over 70% of car buyers utilizing the Internet to research their vehicle purchase before visiting a showroom. Studies abound showing that the use of technology to streamline the customer experience will not only help our dealers’ profitability, but help the customer satisfaction levels as well. With major manufacturers like Mercedes Benz and BMW developing iPad® technology to help them finance and perform lease turn-ins, the use of interactive technology
is becoming more and more mainstream.
Here, in the tri-state area, maintaining and increasing profitability despite, in many cases, a reduction in sales volume is the key to success. Dealers can utilize technology to help bridge the gap and keep their Finance the responses from their office, speeding up the process and giving them all the “tells” on how to sell the customer. Questions like how many miles per year they may drive, if they park their vehicle in a garage and whether or not they would recommend the dealership to friends and family all gather important data so business managers can adapt their presentations to fit the needs of each customer.
This “survey” or interactive interview allows for several advantages. With a standardized interview process, dealers can ensure a great turnover to finance, choosing what questions and products to present in the survey, allowing them to monitor and then adapt to meet the changing needs of today’s buyer. Dealers can also streamline the finance process, by gathering the traditional interview data in that down time between sales and finance,
Departments profitable by using a tablet-based menu. Finance managers can customize and create interactive surveys to find customers’ needs and desires before ever shaking their hands. Based on the response of the
customer, an informational video can even play going over some basic benefits of the products or thanking them for purchasing a vehicle.
With the new mobility of tablets, we can engage customers during “dead time” in between the sale of the vehicle and the turnover to finance, and use that time not only to gain knowledge about our customer, but
to ensure we meet their needs throughout the process. After the survey is completed, the manager can retrieve giving your managers more time to build rapport and build more value in the products they offer. Also, with less dead time, CSI increases as customers aren’t waiting around for the manager, they are actively helping in the purchase of their vehicle.
Once completed, they use that data to change the menu presentation to fit each customer and send that to the iPad® as well.Interactivity is the key here, when you present on a traditional paper menu, the manager is in control of the presentation and the customer listens. With an interactive tablet based menu, we can engage customers in their purchase. If they have interest in a particular product, say a vehicle service contract, with a tap of their finger they can see a 30-40 second video going over the benefits of the product and then make a selection. Allowing the customer to interact with their purchase in the Business Office gives them a sense of control and participation that a traditional menu cannot, which not only increases product sales and per vehicle retail average, but CSI as well.
According to Forrester Research, consumers have purchased over 29 million tablets from Apple. With the increasing popularity of Apple’s and other tablets, it only makes sense to adapt our sales processes to fit into the changing customer. Engaging the customer and empowering their decisions lead to more profitable dealerships, a higher customer retention and an increase in customer satisfaction overall. Customization for each dealership allows you to maximize the effectiveness within your own market and brand, interview questions built for a luxury brand will be completely different from those for an economy brand. An easy
to use platform that engages the customer in their purchase is the easiest way to grow profitability from existing car sales, especially with an interview process that allows managers to be more efficient and productive.
James Polley is President of Vanguard Dealer Services, New Jersey-based F&I
development company. Jim can be reached at 973.575.7171 or send him an email.