Is your car dealership ready for online customers to shop from home and have the ability to complete every aspect of car buying remotely?
With the COVID-19 pandemic, you not only have to showcase the fact that you’re ready to handle customers’needs in your location, but that you can serve the needs of those who will spend their time shopping from home. This might require some dynamic digital gymnastics from you, but you can reach more customers with online resources.
Is Your Website Ready for Online Transactions?
One of the most important ways you can make sure online customers can be served by your dealership is to give them the entire shopping experience from home. This means offering online financing and document signing options, virtual test drives, face-to-face interactions with your team through zoom, facetime, or duo, and an easy-to-use website where customers can finalize their transaction with confidence and security.
Do You have the Logistics for Online Customers?
Customers who are shopping for cars from home won’t be able to receive these vehicles via UPS, FedEx, or USPS. Instead, you’re going to have to deliver the vehicles to them. Do you have delivery vehicles to carry their new cars to their doorstep? Are you equipped to pick up the trades they will need to be brought to your location for a final assessment? Will you use tow services to help you with these logistical needs?
Does Your Dealership Offer No-Contact Sales?
You’re going to need to show how your dealership can be completely no-contact for some customers. This can mean finalizing documents online or through the mail, delivery of a vehicle that’s verified with photos by the delivery driver, and a virtual sales process. If you have customers coming to your location, it might be a bit of a juggling process to offer the no-contact service needed.
Dedicate Part of Your Staff to Online Customers
If your website is set up for customers to shop from home and you have the logistics to get vehicles to them while bringing back trade-ins, all you need is a dedicated team for the sales process. The staff you dedicate to your online customers need to be well-versed in video conferencing, working with technology, and being flexible. With the right team, you can offer a complete shopping experience to your online customers.
Don’t Forget About Online Service and Maintenance
Your service center team will need to be part of the online customer solution during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your website offers appointments for service and maintenance, it should be easy enough to transition these appointments to the time when they will pick up a vehicle from the home of an online customer. With easy pick up and drop off, customers can remain at home while you care for their vehicle.
Use the Same Online Tools for Service as for Sales
While financing won’t be involved during service department transactions, you want to make sure your service center team can show an online customer what they discover with a vehicle if something goes wrong during service. There are times when a service appointment reveals more problems that need to be fixed, or at least shown to a customer. With the right online tools, your service team can keep customers informed.
Don’t Overcommit to Online Customers
If you’ve had to make changes and create a delivery and pickup team for vehicles, you’re going to be limited to a specific number of deliveries every day. You need to figure out how many times your team can handle the ride to customers and back to the dealership so that you know how your scheduling should take place. You might find that you can only satisfy a few online customers per day.
Offer an In-Person Alternative
Some online customers are going to expect your dealership service and sales to be seamless when compared to regular shopping. While this seems a little unrealistic, you want to deliver as best you can. Show your customers how your dealership has taken the proper precautions to ensure a sterile and clean environment for them to shop. Invite them to experience your dealership in person when you can’t meet their schedule online.
Relax, You’re Going to Get Through It
It might be daunting to figure out the technology and logistics of supporting online customers at your car dealership, but you and your team can get the job done. Once you’ve mastered this process, you’ll have an entirely new way for your customers to work with you, even after this pandemic is over.
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