Guest Blog by Richard Ward, UK Automotive Manager
If you watch trends in the market and among consumers even on a global scale, it’s clear that the more business interactions enabled on a mobile device, the better. Consider the 2015 Contact At Once! Dealer Survey. It focused on the mobile impact of just one form of business interaction at dealerships: communication. And the results can’t be ignored.
What 1,200 Dealers Had to Say
For example, 95% of the 2015 survey respondents said dealerships using chat and text have more sales conversations. What’s even more intriguing is that the numbers keep increasing each year. Take a look at these comparisons:
– 96% of the 2015 respondents said dealerships who don’t use messaging technologies like chat and text miss sales opportunities—and that’s up from 86.4% in 2014!
– Over 90% of respondents believe text messaging is a more effective follow-up tool vs. phone or email—compared to 75% who believed that in 2014!
– Customers who use Contact At Once! chat on their dealership website reported an average of 9.2 cars sold per month to those who chatted—a 27.4% increase in the average from 2012!
It begs the question “why”. Why is mobile messaging becoming more and more effective at reaching car shoppers? Why does offering chat and text contribute toward more sales conversations at dealerships? Why are more sales being tied to shoppers who message with a dealership?
Why Consumers Want to Message
It makes sense when you think about how mobile technology has reshaped our experiences and expectations as consumers:
– Mobile enables us to shop in “micro-moments” – Consumers turn to mobile devices when they need to find answers or complete a task—91% of smartphone users do this. And they appreciate it when businesses make it easy to connect and get useful information in those moments.
– Mobile is an increasingly important part of car shopping – J.D. Power says 51% of new-vehicle Internet shoppers research their future purchases on mobile. In fact, automotive mobile searches are growing 51% year over year, according to Google. Tapping to text or using in-app messaging to learn more from a manufacturer or dealer is a natural next step.
– The more we do on mobile, the more we EXPECT to be able to do – As consumers, we demand a streamlined experience. Many smartphone users immediately switch sites or apps if the one they’re on “doesn’t satisfy”: 70% switch if it’s too slow; 67% switch if there are too many steps in the process. So think: How many steps does a shopper have to take to learn if a car is in stock, get a trade-in evaluation, complete paperwork or schedule service?
– The more we do online and on mobile, the less patience we have – Microsoft reports that from 2000 to 2013, our attention spans have dwindled from 12 seconds to eight seconds. No wonder fewer people are willing to sit on hold during a phone call or even wait for emails.
– The more we do online and on mobile, the less brand loyalty we have – Consumers told Accenture that they consider more brands than they did 10 years ago—and almost half say they’re more likely to switch. One part of that could be how much easier it is to research any purchase, from its color to performance, reviews and where to buy.
Increasingly, these more mobile, more demanding car buyers expect to be able to engage with dealerships wherever they are, however and whenever they want to connect. Dealerships who offer this convenience have a lot to gain, considering that consumers are almost twice as likely to recommend a business based on quality of the customer service experience than they are on price (62% vs. 35%, respectively)—and that can have a lasting impact on buyers’ servicing and repair choices too.
The good news is that the same technology fueling the above trends and expectations can help dealerships adjust and win, as the 2015 Dealer Survey results indicate.
To see all the mobile messaging survey results, download the 2015 Dealer Survey Report.