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Dealers cannot afford to miss the eCRM opportunity

Customer relationship management is increasingly encroaching on the digital world turning CRM into eCRM, according to Jeremy Evans, managing director of Marketing Delivery, seminar sponsor at AM’s Digital Dealer Conference.

The conference, which takes place at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire on September 12, 2013, is AM’s third digital conference which aims to help dealerships delve deeper into the digital world to attract more custom and to communicate and engage with a wider spectrum of the online community in order to grow as a business and enhance reputation.

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, to book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468325 or email or visit

As one of six sponsored interactive workshops, Marketing Delivery will explore how the digitalisation of dealerships has transformed CRM with the vast majority of communications undertaken by email and a growing incorporation of social media into CRM strategy.

Email is now more popular than text as the preferred method of communication which also allows for additional functionality such as a service or MOT reminder with a click straight through to an online booking service as well as offering additional services and products.

Research carried out by Capgemini in its ‘Cars Online’ report shows almost half (45%) of customers prefer contact via email.

Text is next with 19% preferring this method of contact and just 13% want to be called on their mobile phones, on a par with the 12% who favour contact by post.

Customers and prospects also prefer to receive promotional material via email with a staggering 64% preferring it to other methods of communication whilst email is by far the favourite for a number of other reasons to make contact - 54% prefer to receive recall information via email and two thirds (66%) would like to receive customer satisfaction surveys in their inbox.

However, the days of the call centre are not numbered. In fact, a blended communications approach is key to a successful CRM strategy.

Although email is preferred for initial contact, marketing and reminders, when it comes to making an actual booking, Marketing Delivery’s automotive dealer clients have measured up to 10 times as many people opting to do so by telephone rather than by return of email or by using the dealer’s online booking facility.

“It’s pretty clear that whatever the message or the content of the communication, email is the preferred option,” said managing director Jeremy Evans.

“In fact, the only time email came second was when it came to the brand magazine – people still want to physically flip through the pages and hold something tangible in their hands. However, we expect that to gradually shift as more and more people increase their tablet usage and opt to read such online magazines with an interactive page-turner.”

Marketing Delivery now incorporates social media into a dealer’s communications strategy by actively encouraging customers to tweet and share Facebook comments of their experience as well as ‘checking in’ using Facebook mobile apps.

Added Evans:  “The role of social media in eCRM is growing and customer reviews help to build both brand and confidence. CRM gains the trust of customers and social media both broadcasts the faith a customer has in a certain product or business as well as further developing the relationship as the business engages with the customer.”

Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, to book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468325 or email or visit

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  • Nobby - 23/07/2013 12:37

    I do still find it amazing that very few brands or dealer groups don't employ a separate owner/customer log in area. This would give the business the ideal communication link to conduct eCRM, where the customer can include their twitter/facebook/etc. accounts as well as traditional contacts and the ability to state their preferred method of communication. The opportunity to then have contact forms 'pre-filled' with the clients details will also actively encourage use. Customer areas need to provide a tangible benefit for the person using them. A few suggestions would be MOT/Insurance/Road Tax reminders. Special offers on service and parts. Latest product info relevant to the car they drive. Accessories and seasonal products/gifts. The old adage of an existing customer is the best customer to have still stands true. Dealers need to look at keeping these clients and providing them with really useful information and services that provides them with a genuine ownership experience and affinity to the brand and dealership.