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This holiday shopping season can provide a gift that keeps giving year round.

Car Dealers Can Capitalize on Holiday-Shopping Lift All Year

To really improve the customer experience, expand customer-data collection beyond clicks and calls. Capture personal details, like hobbies, careers and interests.

Gifts are top of mind this time of year, and many dealerships are hoping to receive a big one – exceeding sales goals – as we wrap up 2018.

Initial shopping indicators are positive this year. Dealertrack data showed a 53% uptick in auto-credit application volume on the most recent Black Friday compared with prior Fridays in November.

Dealer.com data showed a 4% increase in vehicle-detail-page views and a 7% increase for mobile visits on this year’s Black Friday compared with other Fridays in November.

This increased activity is great news for dealerships trying to close sales in 2018. With a few simple and smart actions, though, the spike in car shopping can continue to provide good tidings well into 2019.

To carry the holiday shopping lift into next year, dealers and their teams need the right customer-relationship-management and data practices to make meaningful connections with car shoppers that can be converted into sales next year.

They need to make sure customer leads – gifts waiting to be opened in 2019 – aren’t squandered because of poor data management.

So, what can a dealer do to capitalize on the shopping traffic of the holiday season? Make data “hygiene” a top priority. Ensuring your CRM system only is populated with clean data gives sales teams recent, personal and accurate customer information they need to uniquely tailor each customer’s shopping experience. That offers an advantage over the guys down the street who haven’t updated their data in months.

Ensure data is clean by logging every customer interaction – both online and in-store – and periodically updating or deleting dirty, outdated data.

One particular area of focus should be duplicate data in a CRM, which can drag down customer satisfaction as well as sales success.

Let’s say, for example, a salesperson enters a customer into the CRM under a nickname, “Danny,” but the manager later enters the same customer under his legal name, “Daniel.” Now, the same person has two separate customer profiles in the CRM, meaning he receives two emails, two mailers and two phone calls every time a marketing campaign is launched or a follow-up task fires in the CRM.

Not only does this duplication bother the customer (putting your CSI scores at risk), but marketing to the same person wastes money.

Software integration is key to eliminating this type of duplicate data. Integrations between CRM and major software platforms (such as VinSolutions Connect CRM’s integration with vAuto’s inventory management software) reduce the need to enter and re-enter customer data – thus reducing the risk of duplication.  (Wards Industry Voices contributor Mo Zahabi, left)

These software integrations also help dealerships drive a better customer experience by providing a more comprehensive view of a customer’s history and recent activity.

But to really improve the customer experience, expand customer-data collection beyond clicks and calls. Capture personal details, such as hobbies, careers and interests, that paint a more detailed picture of what type of vehicle might be the right match.

For example, maybe a customer likes to fish on the weekends and needs a vehicle that can tow a boat. These details help build stronger relationships, which result in higher customer satisfaction and retention.

This is a busy time of year, but by cleaning data and adding a personal touch, dealers can maximize profits and ensure customer satisfaction and great relationships. This hectic holiday shopping season can provide a gift that keeps giving year round.

Mo Zahabi is senior director of product consulting at VinSolutions and Dealertrack F&I.

TAGS: Dealers
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