The automotive landscape is no longer what it used to be. New services and players are coming up, such as car centers, online trade-ins, and so on. Customer loyalty at the point of sale has also undergone a paradigm shift. Needless to say, it is very important to ensure customer loyalty for retention and future sales. This is where after-sales services play an integral role – it helps to foster good customer relations, while preventing buyer volatility.
After-sales is definitely a value-generating activity
For a very long time, dealerships focused on selling used and new vehicles, which is their core business. Frankly, the aspect of after-sales was often pushed to the side, as it was considered to be less valuable. The direct consequence is the attachment of car owners to a point of sale gradually eroded as other after-sales solutions developed.
It isn’t that uncommon for people to turn away from the brand’s network after the vehicle warranty expires. It is a huge problem, because a car owner who goes elsewhere, might not buy their next vehicle at a particular dealership.
Now it is a known fact that the after-sales service generates more margin for the dealership than new vehicles. The very first step is to maintain customer loyalty at the point of sale. It is imperative to boost quality of after-sales services such as offers, prices, technical advice etc. Reinventing customer relationships is also necessary, by depending upon customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.
So what is after-sales service?
To put it in a nutshell, after-sales service is the many processes that ensure customers are satisfied with the products and services.
- Fulfilling the needs and demands of customers is a must. This way they will spread positive word-of-mouth – it helps to promote brand products and services.
- After-sales service makes sure products and services meet or surpass the expectations of the customers.
Why is after-sales service necessary?
- It plays a crucial role when it comes to customer satisfaction and retention. It means more loyal customers and increase in brand value.
- Customers’ faith in the brand becomes stronger.
- A satisfied and happy customer brings more referrals and eventually higher revenues for the dealership.
- It works wonders in solidifying the bond between the dealership and its customers.
Database is what matters
If it is believed that CRM can breathe life into customer relationships at dealerships, the reason is simple. Points of sale now have a plethora of information that can be put to good use. As long as the information in the database is of good quality, and leads are lucrative, a dealer gets to know almost everything about buyers.
The sole objective is to provide the right offer at the precise time and affordable rate. For example, let us consider a vehicle whose service date is just around the corner. Due to its DMS (integrated dealer management software package), the dealership gets an alert. Thus, they can automatically set emails or SMS reminders to be sent at the appropriate time. They can facilitate appointment scheduling as well. Apart from boosting sales cycle, it limits the risk of the customer going elsewhere.
However, it is easier said than done, as several measures must be undertaken such as:
- Deleting duplicate customer files.
- Filling in information in the database such as purchases, reminders, visits, etc. and keeping it updated.
- Automating the management and analysis of information.
The goal is twofold – ensuring optimal customer follow-up and setting up tailored direct marketing plans. Good customer relationship management is now all the more important, because the role of dealerships is no more what it used to be. On average, car owners make only 1-3 visits to a dealership before buying. They often know exactly what they want before stepping inside a dealership.
Dealerships can no longer stand out by providing exclusive expertise, as customers are equipped with information they have gathered online. That is why, they need to offer premium quality after-sales services. The purpose is to encourage the buyer to make their next purchase at the same dealership. That is where CRM strategy comes into play – it lets you be present at every point of contact from research to the closing of sale.
How does the man-machine complementarity enter the scenario?
Even though an automotive CRM solution is great, it is wrong to assume that it can manage customer relations alone. Even if it simplifies customer management, human intervention can’t be ruled out completely.
Dealerships capitalize on the information provided by software solutions, in order to take the required action. Therefore, it is vital to mobilize the sales force around an observed fact- just like in the case of new and used vehicles, after-sales service is an important driver of revenue and customer loyalty.
When properly used, a CRM solution can actually increase business by 20% to 30%. However, these tools put in place have to be easy to use so that most employees can capitalize on them. While large automobile dealership networks generally have the human resources capable of running a CRM, this is not the case for independent networks or small workshops. Developers are diligently working every day to refine software in such a way that it is convenient for all, ergonomic, and intuitive. That is why, most of the basic tasks are now automated, and the solutions allow the management of the entire dealership’s activity: from the after-sales service to invoicing, marketing and communication.
The message is clear – after-sales services can no longer be sidelined. It is necessary for dealerships to train personnel to not only sell vehicles, but provide the best after-sales services, so customers don’t get a chance to complain.
To make the after-sales service at your dealership as easy and effective as possible, take a look at how Modera can help you.
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