Physical + Digital = Great Customer Experience

As customer expectations have changed, it has become more critical than ever for customer experience to always be top of mind for dealers.

In today’s marketplace, that experience goes beyond the four walls of your dealership. It starts online. To provide the best experience for customers, the digital and brick-and-mortar experiences must be connected, and a customer-relationship management system like Connect CRM can help facilitate those connections.

Launching a Great Experience Online
The vast majority of shoppers today begin their car-buying journey online – and many of them begin at dealers’ websites. As such, your website is an opportunity to make a great first impression. The best dealer website gives the customer a great experience by serving as a car-searching resource and a place to get time-consuming paperwork out of the way.

If a dealership is taking full advantage of its website, the site gives customers the ability to search for the vehicles, structure payments, submit for a cash offer on their trade, apply for credit, view aftermarket programs and accessories and save the work they have completed. These online capabilities are a great start to an outstanding customer experience, but they don’t mean much if the information doesn’t make it to the next step of the buying process – the visit to the physical store.

Recognizing Customer Work
Once a customer decides to make the trip to a dealership’s physical store, it is crucial to recognize work that customer has already done online. Far too often, customers walk into a dealership knowing the car they want, with their forms already filled out online, only to discover no one on the showroom floor has any idea who they are or what they are looking for.

Dealerships need real-time visibility into customer’s actions on the store’s website; this is where a CRM steps in as an extraordinary tool for dealers.

Using the CRM
Data is the key to a great customer experience because it allows dealerships to personalize each customer experience. That means understanding what they are looking for, where they are in their unique customer journey and what their current circumstances are.

Having access to this data is only possible with the right technology in place. At a dealership, using a CRM can help salespeople grab all kinds of customer data, including purchase history and conversations. This allows dealers to both acknowledge previous conversations and use what was entered online to their advantage by filling in what was previously unknown – creating a seamless, connected customer experience.

Creating Customer Connections
When used and used well, a CRM can play an important role in creating a great customer experience. By collecting and disseminating customer data with a CRM, dealers are able to provide, a cohesive, comprehensive and connected buying experience that leaves customers satisfied and ready to buy.

A version of this article originally appeared in Ward’s Auto.