A survey of car buyers found the great majority expressed interest in returning to their selling dealership for service and communicating via a dedicated mobile app. 
 - Photo by Bruce Mars via Pexels

A survey of car buyers found the great majority expressed interest in returning to their selling dealership for service and communicating via a dedicated mobile app.

Photo by Bruce Mars via Pexels

In today’s competitive marketplace, consumers have come to expect convenience and personalization from their favorite brands. To adapt to these preferences, dealers should take a page from the digital media playbook. You must find innovative ways to develop and maintain relationships with each unique customer.

The key to this strategy is making engagement easier by placing the dealership directly in the palm of the consumer’s hand — via their mobile device.

Mobile applications have become a key component of our everyday lives, and the car ownership experience should be no exception. Here are three ways dealer-branded mobile apps keep customers engaged with your service department:

1. They Spark Post-Sale Relationships.

In a recent survey of car buyers, we found 80% of respondents reported a willingness to visit their selling dealerships for regular vehicle maintenance. Further, 85% of respondents reported being interested in the convenience of service-related features from a dealership mobile app.

However, dealers only capture 33% of the fixed operations market. This indicates a significant area of opportunity.

Read: Study: Dealers and Car Buyers Want New Tech, Dealership Staff Resistant

At the post-sale stage of the customer lifecycle, mobile devices allow dealers to directly engage consumers. They offer an easy way to contact the dealership and can be leveraged in targeted marketing campaigns and offer “shortcuts” that streamline the service process and drive increased revenue from fixed operations.

2. They Promote a More Personalized Relationship.

Dealers have traditionally focused on building personal relationships with customers based on years of face-to-face communication and mutual trust.

Now, mobile technology enables a new kind of customized relationship based on consumer preferences and habits. By tapping into basic vehicle data — make, model, year, and mileage — dealers can customize service alerts and reminders at the push of a button.

Optimized communication with a customer is based on relevancy to their needs, not a random promotion from the dealership.

Through mobile, you can position your team as trusted advisors, offering helpful, targeted alerts, like a car parts recall or maintenance reminder at a specific mileage point. With a relevant mobile platform, dealers can also send out coupons targeted to specific consumers to drive interest in fixed ops and financing specials.

Optimized communication with a customer is based on relevancy to their needs, not a random promotion from the dealership. Mobile engagement isn’t a replacement for an oil change postcard. It’s a new opportunity to share and reinforce your brand and expertise.

3. They Align With Customer Preferences.

When it comes to true engagement and response rates, a lot of marketing messaging ends up in the noise category. Marketers have generally gone for quantity over quality, but we know that what triggers action is relevant, personalized and timely messaging. The frequency of messaging must be just right to push consumers to action.

With mobile devices, customers don’t have to deal with the marketing sensory overload common to telemarketing and “batch and blast” email. Instead, they can choose to interact with a dealer when they want and however frequently they wish.

Further, when they do see notifications through mobile, customers can easily make appointments at their convenience and at the push of a button, streamlining service and satisfying or exceeding the expectation of convenience.

Mobile is the bridge between business and today’s consumer. While technology isn’t a replacement for in-person interactions, it extends the reach of personalized relationships with car buyers at every point in the customer lifecycle.

By leveraging data from connected vehicles, dealers can improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Connectivity and mobility deliver insights dealers need to better engage consumers, resulting in a customer experience that creates a true competitive advantage.

Sunil Marolia is vice president of product management for the connected car division at Spireon.

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