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How to make your customer journey run smoothly – in five simple steps

Dealer handing over car keys to customers

The customer journey to a new car doesn’t always run smoothly.

More than half (52 per cent) of all consumers say they feel uncomfortable or anxious in a showroom.

Generation X buyers are particularly so. Some 24 per cent say they’d rather have root canal surgery than negotiate with a dealer over price (2016 Beepi Consumer Automotive Index).

Consumer behaviour to an extent depends on demographics. For example, Millennials consider more options and take longer to buy than Baby Boomers.

But one thing unites them all: buyers are doing their homework before entering dealerships. They’ve seen the automotive marketing online and weighed up their options.

When a potential buyer walks into a showroom it’s your chance to shine.

Using customer data efficiently and seamlessly is crucial in driving consumers down the purchase funnel and converting business leads into sales.

As a dealer, you need the right data at your fingertips to make the customer journey run smoothly. In Gather's five-point plan for doing just that, we’ve unravelled the customer experience map to help you maximise the potential of customer data in delivering sales. Here’s how…

1. Be mindful of ‘micro-moments’ in the customer journey

These days, fewer people decide on the model they’re going to buy at your dealership.

These decisions are made during the online research phase. This stage takes up 59 per cent of the journey (Auto Trader) and lasts for six weeks on average (Weve Primary Automotive Research 2017).

There are typically 900 digital touchpoints or ‘micro-moments’ - instances where buyers search for specific answers - before buying (Luth Research).

Be savvy and harness data from this phase. More than 30 per cent of your peers are using web interaction history data before reaching out to leads (9 Clouds, The 2016 State of Automotive Marketing).

2. Make the first meeting magic

You know first impressions still matter. In fact, with consumers better versed than ever when they walk into a showroom (the first point of contact with a dealership for 61 per cent of buyers – Auto Trader), they’ve never been more crucial.

By gathering data at this point and quickly processing it to suggest potential options, you have the opportunity to improve conversion rates.

3. Get the test drive right

For most buyers, the test drive is a high point of the customer journey to buying a car.

Eighty one per cent of buyers give the test drive experience a mark of eight out of 10 or higher in terms of satisfaction (Auto Trader). Perhaps unsurprisingly, satisfaction levels fall significantly when it comes to dealing with finance.

Whether it's sorting the nitty gritty of finance or making sure you’re maximising the sales opportunity on the test drive, you need to be able to process information quickly and efficiently.

4. Ensure you’re GDPR compliant

This is a crucial, potentially difficult part of the journey.

You already know customer data is a key sales tool for the automotive industry. So you need to ensure the information you hold is compliant with new EU-wide rules that come into force this May.

You'll need to seek consent to use new and existing customer data and disclose how you intend to use it.

5. Stay in contact

This isn’t just about selling services, parts, new cars and upgrades in the future; it’s about building lasting relationships with your customers. By integrating with sales platforms and CRM software, Gather’s app allows you to stay on top of the needs of your customers. Whether that’s alerting them to attractive new upgrades or marketing material that will appeal to them. Such communication won’t just build strong relationships; it will deliver an enviable return on investment.

Gather’s GDPR-compliant customer data software app – available in Enterprise, Pro and Lite versions – has been used by everyone from Bentley to Suzuki to capture customer data and convert leads into sales. 

Fill in our contact form or call our team on +44 01273 712830 to learn more about how Gather can help you maximise the potential of customer data today.

Author: Amii Lanham, Head of Client Services, Gather

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