Phone and email are the titans of customer communications and most likely form the backbone of your business development. But they shouldn’t be the only way you communicate with customers. Relying on only one or two traditional forms of communication can be fatal to your dealership.
Customers today expect to be able to converse with you through multiple channels. Everything from texting to Live chat to Facebook messenger. And they want those communications to be seamless and easy. To keep up with customer demand and grow your business, you must have an omni-channel communication strategy.
“Omni-channel” has become a big buzzword in almost every industry. But it’s still not well understood. At the most basic level, it means you provide integrated and seamless communications across the myriad of channels we have in 2021, including online chat, texting, video chat, Twitter chat, etc.
Omni-channel is often lumped in with multi-channel, but they are different. In multi-channel, the customer has access to a variety of communication options that aren’t necessarily connected or synchronized. During an omni-channel experience, however, there aren’t only multiple channels, but the channels are connected so customers can move between them seamlessly.
What does this look like in real life?
Think of a customer who visits your website and live chats with an agent. The next day the same customer uses his smartphone to text about a particular vehicle. Then he picks up the phone and calls to ensure a vehicle is in stock. Finally, he shows up at your showroom ready to test drive the vehicle.
With an omni-channel approach and the right technology platform, every time that customer interacted with your store it was tracked and logged. So, every subsequent time he reached out, the system recognized him and automatically displayed his customer history. The customer never had to repeat information or start the process all over again. He received a continuous, seamless, intuitive experience through every channel, and exerted the least amount of effort to get it.
That experience helps customers gain trust and confidence in your dealership, which can be a huge factor in lowering sales resistance. High-quality interactions also make customers want to do business with you again. That’s how you cultivate long-term relationships, instead of one-off transactions.
So far, we’ve discussed building an omni-channel customer experience for customers who reach out to your store. But you can also apply omnichannel strategy to enhance your outbound marketing, generate leads, and acquire customers. The key is using your customer data to identify the preferred channel of a specific audience segment – or individual prospects – and create a great experience on that channel with ad content or special offers tailored to that specific segment.
In the last decade, we’ve seen huge leaps in call center technology that automatically does this kind of data science for you. The right platform will integrate with your DMS to match customers with their data, even when they’ve gone across channels and marketing campaigns. This allows you to target them in a more efficient manner.
It will also allow you to schedule which customer actions trigger your dealership’s actions so the customer journey moves along with as little pause as possible, yet at a cadence so customers don’t feel hounded by too many communications.
Providing your employees with the training and technology to converse across a wide range of channels along with the content that your customers want will pay-off with a better customer experience, and enhance your outbound marketing for more leads and sales. Don’t make the fatal mistake of relying only on traditional communication channels. Embrace the omni-channel approach that customers demand and they’ll want to do business with your dealership.