Beyond Boundaries – Positive Purchase Experience with the help of CRM.

Customer Satisfaction
The power of a positive purchase experience… with the help of CRM.

By now, it is established that CRM can do great work for the car dealer who knows how to take advantage of it. But CRM can also go a long way to keeping the customer happy, by creating a positive purchase experience. By personalizing the customer experience, whenever the dealer interacts with that customer, it becomes a more rewarding interaction. “Expectations have changed,” notes Thomas Schwartz, director of corporate communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. “Consumers expect their retailer to know who they are as a customer and as an individual.” With the help of CRM, a customer can be greeted by name, and the salesperson may even be able to discern why they’ve come into the store. “We can provide more ownership of a sales experience,” says Schwartz.

The customer benefits in two ways – not only is it a more rewarding experience, it’s more substantive, as well. “If you’re reminding me of a service, or a recall, telling me about the next special, you’re giving me information that I may not have had otherwise,” says Schwartz. “You’re helping me improve my vehicle, save money, or you’re simply demonstrating that you’re looking out for me.” In turn, that customer is more likely to turn to the dealership, not just to buy something, but for advice. “Overall, it’s more emotionally satisfying for the customer.”

Engage customers
The very pirpose of CRM is to go beyond reputation management, and engage customers, according to Karen Parmenter, vice president of sales and marketing for DealerMine. “CRM is a tool that covers all points of contact with your customers,” she says. “It should give you the opportunity to build your relationship with your customer. Our CRM allows you to maintain a point of contact beyond just selling you a car.” She offers the example of reaching out to customers when they’re due for service. “By creating a relationship in the service department, and having the documentation when the customer comes in, the customer will consider that you’re taking care of her, because they’re building that kind of relationship. “You don’t want to just sell them the car, you’re making a commitment to your customer. Your CRM should go deep, and know everything about them – how they want to be communicated with, their preferred times, if they work day or night. If you do it right, they’ll respond with loyalty and stay committed to your dealership.”

Beyond Boundaries

Today’s CRM technologies can help dealers push the proverbial envelope,and collect information that can help build relationships and close deals. Although CRM provides a range of ways to interact with a customer who has contacted a dealership, there’s a new wave on the horizon – influencing the customer beyond the traditional sales boundaries. “How do we influence a customer to engage with the brand prior to walking into the showroom?” asks Glen Demetrioff, president at DMT Development Systems Group, Inc.  “If we can somehow influence the behaviour of the customer before they walk into the showroom and manage that relationship higher up, that’s where we see a huge opportunity.”  Demetrioff thinks there is a way to engage customers while they’re viewing information online, offering information about a brand, a product and a dealership.  “If we meet them in the digital space, create a relationship with them further up in the purchase funnel, then we can start working with them sooner,”  Demetrioff says. It’s something that DMT is working on right now. “In the CRM space, there are a lot of great tools, and they do a fantastic job,” notes Demetrioff. “They’re all focused on the same important elements of your business, where the deal is transacted.”  But there’s a need to create a relationshio that’s beyond traditional bricks and mortat. “How do we get more people into our CRM?” says Demetrioff. “That’s where we see our Rapid Response CRM tool heading, where we continue to change, because we need to engage people further out.”

Social fingerprint
Over at DealerMine, they’re harnessing the power of what people are saying on Twitter, and feeding the information to dealerships.  “We’re being proactive, ” says Karen Parmenter, vice president of sales and marketing at DealerMine. “Instead of looking at Internet leads and waiting for customers to reach out to dealerships, we’re giving dealerships the information in advance, so they can reach out – instead of waiting for the customer to come to them.” Since anything said on Twitter or other social media is considered a public forum, it doesn’t violate CASL. “It’s public information,” notes Parmenter. “If someone is publishing that they’re looking for a car, it gives us the ability to lead sift all those conversations, determining through a back-end algorithm, that they may be a hot lead.” Since the system is regionally based, a dealer can “see” everyone within a certain radius of the store. “A store can determine what radius they want,” says Parmenter. “You can go narrow or wide.” DealerMine can also follow a customer on Twitter, to determine their social fingerprint. “Using their Twitter handle, we can tell if they use Facebook, and other demographic information,” says Parmenter. “That includes if they’re single, female, have children, and are a homeowner. We can gather that information and send it to the dealer, so you can store it on your database and use it to target campaigns.” “This is using CRM to go well beyond reputation management.”

Article by : Krystyna Lagowski

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