Mind the gap

Posted by Alex Knight on 16-Dec-2020 16:39:57
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Our latest research revealed that 72% of customers think it's important to communicate digitally when it comes to car servicing. Yet 82% of service advisors still reach for the phone every time. How do you bridge the gap?

Bridging the communication gap

The way aftersales is being delivered is changing.

Contactless servicing and repair is a rapidly growing trend as dealers look at how they can address customer demand to reduce physical contact in the Corona-age.

Factor in the growth of EVs, with their fewer moving parts that require less maintenance, and the growth of disruptors acting as the ‘middle man’ to arrange servicing and repairs, the ability to forge quality customer relationships in the aftersales arena is more challenging than ever.

We recently took a look at both the consumer and dealer aftersales landscape in an in-depth market research project. It revealed that customer expectations of dealers were rising, and that dealers needed better tools to meet their changing demands.

Consumer using phone

Demand for digital. And the gap...

Initial findings reveal a not surprising willingness of consumers to engage digitally. In fact, 72% think it’s important to communicate digitally and three-quarters (75%) think it shows that the dealer is customer focused.

However, our research also found 82% of dealers still use the phone to communicate. And this is the gap facing the industry today. It highlights the disconnect between the preference of customers and the methods used in aftersales departments and customer contact centres.

Communication comes first

We wanted to know what mattered the most to consumers when they have their car repaired or serviced, and what we found was very interesting indeed...

The research revealed that the single most important factor for customers when having their car serviced or repaired is communication, with almost a third (29%) citing it as their top priority as part of the research.

Interestingly, other aftersales factors were not mentioned in anywhere near the same numbers as communication. Second on the list of priorities was the quality of work (20%) whilst fair pricing and feeling valued were the joint third most important factors identified by 12% of those surveyed. Meanwhile, the courtesy car was mentioned by just 4% and only 3% thought it was important to receive a video of work required although, arguably this forms part of the communication process which almost three in 10 thought was the most important aspect.

Addressing the gap

The research revealed that easy wins are there for dealers.

If consumers hold prompt, regular communication so dear, then immediate attention should be placed on improving it. Make it easier, make it more consistent, make it more regular.

Starting to use digital communications will very quickly result in improved customer experiences, greater engagement and higher satisfaction.

Digital enables you to meet the expectation of the vast majority (80%) of consumers today, and can provide improved processes for the prompt, regular updates they find so valuable during their service visit.

It doesn't have to be every customer, as not all customers want to communicate digitally. But pretty much every dealer today prides themselves on rich CRM contact records with mobile phone numbers and email addresses. Giving the option of a digital aftersales comms channel allows those most willing to instantly take to it, freeing up the phone for those that don't want to.

The proof is here

We're already seeing the results at dealers running CustomerLounge.

Customers are engaging digitally, and satisfaction is rising as a result.

Just last month at one of our premium brand dealerships we have seen:

  • 83% of all customers booked in visiting CustomerLounge
  • 58% of all customers visiting CustomerLounge chatting to the dealership online
  • +40 point NPS rise compared to before using CustomerLounge with detractors down from 30% to 9%
  • 26% rise in Overall Satisfaction in their Service department, rising from 69% to 87%

If you're looking for premium, personal and conversational engagement with every one of your customers, then we'd love to show you some more.

Get in touch with our team here: www.autino.com/customerlounge 

Topics: customer experience, technology, loyalty, dealerships, customer satisfaction, interaction, communication, online, digital, Aftersales, Customerlounge, automotive, consumers, personalisation, customer relationships, dealer, convenience, digitisation, retail, trust, transparency, conversation

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