It has been another outstanding year for CitNOW which has been given highly commended status in the Video Producer of the Year category.
The firm, which is backed by investment firm Tenzing, pioneered video in the automotive industry and has grown rapidly to become a global market leader and is used in 10,000 dealers across 62 countries.
This year it acquired Dealerweb for an undisclosed sum and has gone from strength to strength.
The company was victorious at the 2019 Car Dealer Power awards and here is what Alistair Horsburgh, chief revenue officer of CitNOW Group, had to say about the latest honour…
How did it feel to be highly commended?
‘It is a great honour to receive this recognition from the Car Dealer community.
‘Video has been a vital communication tool for dealers throughout the pandemic, helping them maintain interactions and enhance the customer experience.
‘We’ve seen a strong uptake in video usage over the past 18 months, with a record three million CitNOW videos produced in the first quarter of 2021, and more than 1.2 million videos created in March alone.
‘It’s clear that video will continue to play a critical role in bridging the online-to-offline experience for customers looking to purchase a vehicle.
‘The last few years have been an incredible challenge for all in the industry, so it’s pleasing for everyone at CitNOW to see how all the hard work and dedication to helping retailers adapt to these challenges has been so positively appreciated.’
What does it mean to you to be highly commended?
‘This recognition is a testament to the entire CitNOW team. I am so proud to lead such a dedicated and passionate group of people who genuinely want to help retailers communicate with customers throughout the car buying journey.
‘Being highly commended in this category reaffirms to me that retailers see us as an important partner in the industry, to support them in building emotional connections and relationships with customers in a way that suits them, with the ultimate aim of helping them to improve customer satisfaction and sales.
How important are the Car Dealer Power awards to the industry?
‘The fact that the Car Dealer Power Awards are voted for by Car Dealer readers and people working in the automotive industry means so much to us.
‘These are the people that we deal with day in, day out, who know our business and how we operate, first-hand.
‘It is so important that awards like the Car Dealer Power Awards exist, to allow people working in automotive retailing to have their say on the businesses they work with and to share their opinions.
‘It is awards like this that mean so much to us and we’re delighted to have been recognised and highly commended by the wider dealer network – it must mean that we’re doing something right!’
How has the past year been for the company?
‘During the first lock when car showrooms were closed and workshops only open to key workers, we quickly suspended our monthly subscription charges while actively encouraging retailers to use their CitNOW solution to engage with customers in a safe and contactless way.
‘We wanted to support our customers and the industry in the most challenging of circumstances.
‘To further support motor retailers in adapting to the changing conditions and help them continue to sell cars remotely, we launched a range of new features that were offered as part of existing subscriptions.
‘This included the accelerated launch of Live Video, which replicated face-to-face interactions with customers remotely, enabling retailers to expand the contactless customer experience.
‘The introduction of desktop screen sharing to help replicate the in-showroom experience, and an industry-first audio enhancement, Clarity powered by Dolby.io, to boost the audio quality of videos and ultimately improve the customer experience were also launched in the past year.
‘We took our Academy learning and development programme from face-to-face delivery to online in a matter of weeks and ceased charging for it to remove any barriers to using CitNOW effectively – whether a new or existing customer.
‘We also doubled our efforts with regular informative articles and How2CitNOW videos to encourage retailers to embrace video.
‘We also got creative and worked with customers to utilise their video purposes and the beginning and end of CitNOW videos to effectively communicate sanitation and new lockdown-related processes.’
What are your thoughts on the future?
‘One of the best things about working in the automotive industry is that it constantly forces us to learn and adapt.
‘We’re seeing a growing market share for electric vehicles, a boom in online retailing and manufacturers increasingly moving to an agency model.
‘As a result, many retailers will need to continue adapting over the next few years in order to remain competitive.
‘In recent times, the importance of having complete flexibility to meet everyone’s needs has become even more apparent.
‘As customers increasingly return to the showroom, it’s clear to see that video will remain a key communication tool in bridging the gap between the digital and physical world.
‘It’s enabling dealers to build trust with customers, stand out in a highly competitive sales environment, and ultimately improve the chances of a sale.’