Throughout the industry conversations continue to grow and expand regarding digital retailing as a necessity for their customer base amongst dealership owners. Many conversations involving leadership surround a frustration with technology or the inability to sell more vehicles.

There are many reasons for dealership owners’ frustrations, the main one being their dealership’s current technology, and the fact that they are using one unfit for their specific culture!

While there will be a ton of learning curves as the automotive industry refines this new process, remember this; customers who are shopping now purchased/leased a car over 3 years ago. This technology did not exist then, so dealers need to be conscious about being patient with these returning customers.

What is most important to keep in mind is that customers who purchased a car in the past year using this technology will expect an even more simplified, easy transaction process when they return three years from now.

The process must evolve and be refined. Going backwards is not an option.

Recently I discussed the value of customer experience at dealerships in 2021, and how CX will impact the answers to the above questions.

Once a dealership knows the type of experience they are looking to deliver to their customers, and how their staff is going to interact with consumers, finding the technology that fits your dealership’s specific needs will be much easier. There needs to be a vision in mind before shopping for technology, or you will simply not know what to look for.

Regarding internal processes, dealers have shared specific concerns on how DR technology has and will upset their current processes, their staff’s interaction with their customer base, or their current way of doing business. While all concerns are valid, they all can be addressed with a step-by-step focus on the DR implementation process.

Like an octopus with tentacles, digital retailing reaches into multiple areas of the dealership.

Here are some initial thoughts on what dealerships can inspect when maximizing their current DR tool, or help with the choice on DR tools for their dealership:

Document Current Processes At All Customer Touch Points

Review current website buttons to see where the information submitted is sent. Should certain buttons now flow into the DR tool? Depending on how the dealership is set up to handle customer opportunities, (BDC, Round Robin, Single Point of Contact), gather the heads of each department and review current processes. Make sure to write out each step for email, phone, text and face to face interactions.In store processes must be reviewed as well, for example how salespeople greet customers in person.

Decide On How The Interaction With The Consumer Will Flow

  • If the current setup is to have a BDC handling internet opportunities, will they handle this new DR consumer in a similar fashion? How will the process regarding the transfer of information or conversations to a salesperson be handled? If a round robin or single point of contact system is in place, who distributes the opportunities? Who is/will be checking on the process for compliance?

  • What needs to change with employee responses to consumers? (phone, email, chat, text). These need to be modified prior to installation of technology. It’s best to think of this ahead of time so you are prepared for the DR Tool’s technical team during buildout and installation.

  • If you currently have a DR tool in place, what is current process and what is the inspection process of current results?

What Part Of The Team Will Initially Handle These Opportunities?

  • When instituting a change of process, it is recommended to begin with a small group of individuals because there is not a true idea of the volume of these new opportunities. Once the process is in place, the team is ready to go, having a small group in the beginning allows leadership to monitor the process and make adjustments as needed.

  • Digital or Modern Retailing’s purpose is to allow customers to interact with your website’s information at their convenience. This allows them to be comfortable understanding price, trade-in values, credit approval and other questions as well. Having an internal process in place for when they interact with your team will remove any friction in the process. The goal is for both sides of the interaction to save time and have a better experience. Remember to be patient and inspect, adjust and adapt and focus on where this process will be in three years. 

These topics and many others regarding Digital Retailing will be discussed at the upcoming Modern Retailing Simplified one day virtual event, March 17th from 10 am -6 pm ET. I will be leading panel discussions on What is a Modern Retailing Process and How Customer Experience Should Influence all Decisions on DR.

Click here for more information or use the QR code below to register for the one day learning event, Digital Retailing Simplified, this March.

If you found this helpful, please share. If you need help you can reach out to me directly with the email button below.

Glenn Pasch
Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.
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