Staying Connected to Your Customers During COVID-19
Thursday March 19, 2020
These are unprecedented times. Every day seems to bring more news of COVID-19’s latest impacts, both globally and locally.
Through all of this, we are committed to sharing with you the most up-to-date information and relevant best practices to help you continue to provide the optimal customer experience for which your dealership is known.
Start with these tips:
While many shoppers may delay their vehicle purchase at this time, they may still be interested in shopping and buying a new vehicle soon.
(source: Cox Automotive COVID-19 Impact Study – March 18, 2020)
Here are some best practices to help you continue to drive your business:
Make Sure You Have the Right Inventory
Anticipate the needs of customers by using digital auctions to have the right inventory on hand for those online shoppers.
Optimize Your Website and Get Sales Started Online
Communicate your digital shopping, buying, and service model where customers can jumpstart the shopping and buying process online to encourage social distancing.
Add Digital Retailing to your listings to enable shoppers to get started on the buying process from home, which minimizes face-to-face interaction.
Keep Customers Informed
Update all customer communication touchpoints with your current practices given this unique time. For example, updated in-store hours, COVID-19 risk mitigation strategies, etc. Communicate this news via your website and social media. Emphasize local community support and resources, if relevant.
Connect in the Moment with Chat and Text
Be ready to work with your customers virtually – whether it’s via email, text, chat or over the phone. Prepare to help shoppers with their needs even if not from within the showroom
Extend Your Reach and Deliver
If you haven’t considered vehicle delivery before, now is a great time. If you have logistics and capabilities in place online, be sure to let your customers know that you will deliver to their doorstep. Create social posts, update your comments on your listings, and even your vehicle images if you can. Even better, film a quick video from your phone talking about your approach during COVID-19 and all that you are doing to keep your community healthy while also helping your customers find the right car. Place the video up on your listings to get it in front of ready-to-buy shoppers. Additionally, you should consider providing customers the convenience of home delivery for test drives and vehicle purchases.
Enhance Car Owner Conversations with Online Approvals
Service advisors are able to build an online quote for car owners with additional service recommendations (ASRs). Car owners can review the full vehicle inspection and approve or decline the quote through their desktop or smartphone, all while social distancing.
In addition, allow for online or app service scheduling to include pickup, drop-off, and cleaning for vehicle service as well as options for loaner car service.
Clean Your Vehicles to Reduce Concerns In-store
Relieve customer concerns with additional cleaning and reinforce hygiene best practices. Make sure to communicate your procedures for test drive cleaning and disinfection.
If not properly cleaned, your vehicles are vulnerable to carrying COVID-19 and other infections and germs. It is for this reason that we suggest we suggest wiping down the interior of the cars and any other area that could be considered a high-touch area with sanitizing wipes. These areas might include door handles, door latches, lock buttons, seat belts and buckles, window buttons, mirrors, radio and climate controls, gas tank levers, and more.
Another good rule of thumb is to clean areas that customers and employees contact regularly and to sanitize your hands on an hourly basis.