How the evolution of the connected car buyer is transforming the motor trade.

Although buying a car remains a major financial commitment, today the way we buy, research and own cars is rapidly changing. As consumer trends shift towards greater transparency, availability of information and a pay-as-you-go lifestyle, forward-thinking dealerships are turning to technology to improve customer experience and enhance long-term loyalty.

For decades, dealers have relied upon tried and tested business models to differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace. Emphasising customer service, the most successful dealer groups have secured repeat business year after year. Traditionally customer experience has been controlled within the dealership, relying on footfall, new products, a reliable aftersales service and face-to-face people skills to build long-lasting relationships.

More recently, car outlets in shopping centres, online retail and car financing have given customers easier access to products - driving record sales in 2016. The challenge this creates is a decreasing footfall in flagship dealerships, resulting in reduced, all-important face time with customers.

To stay competitive, dealers must now embrace new technologies to drive both brand and customer loyalty through an omnichannel approach. Consider these key steps for maintaining customer relationships, without even meeting a customer…

Open up the lines of communication – Today, many customers prefer email, text or instant messaging over traditional methods of communication. Increase customer engagement by giving customers the freedom to choose how best to communicate with you.

Maximise opportunity – Provide your most successful sales people with the tools they need to interact with as many customers as possible. Personalised videos are an easy way to build rapport with a prospective customer when footfall is slow.

Improve efficiency – There are many technologies that can reduce physical resource and expenditure to enhance business operations - leaving you to focus on business growth/consolidation whilst maintaining a consistent customer journey.

Stay proactive - Finance deals, service schedules, contract end dates; it’s a lot for customers to keep track of! Build loyalty by being proactive, contact your customers, provide timely reminders and help them to make the right decisions.

Ultimately, dealers that remain agile, with flexible technologies, will be well placed for long term success. Providing exceptional customer service and support by bringing business to the customer through innovations like virtual reality, presence in shopping centres or prolonged test drives, will help build trust, credibility and increase competitive advantage.

Bistech works with 1 in 5 of the AM Online top 100 dealerships. This success is underpinned by 30 years’ experience building strong relationships with customers, manufacturers and DMS providers. With a deep understanding of industry trends and dealership requirements, Bistech provides technologies that place flexibility, scalability and future-proofing at the heart of your business. Call our team of experts on 03330 11 22 55.