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How to transform the car buying journey through business messaging on Facebook

Time 4 months ago

Roughly half of potential car buyers say they’d purchase a car online – and that number rises to 60 per cent for the under 40s.

At the same time though, over 80 per cent of customers still want to have some interaction with a dealership, and 60 per cent of people still say they’d like to visit one – because ‘there are some things you have to see in person, or feel’, according to Facebook-commissioned Auto eCommerce Study of 1,014 car buyers.

Here, Facebook explores how business messaging can help.



People increasingly seek out messaging as a means of communication. Some 65 per cent are more likely to transact with a business they can contact via messaging, 59 per cent will even use it to make purchase decisions and 63 per cent prefer it to email or phone.

Why? It’s convenient. It’s not time bound like a phone call. No more waiting on hold, or waiting for a business to open. It’s visual and engaging, and lets customers communicate with you using rich media like photos or videos.

And with Facebook Messenger, it’s using apps they already have installed on their phone. Today, there are over 1.3bn people using Messenger – with over 20bn messages exchanged between people and businesses each month.

In the car industry, brands and dealerships are already embracing the power of messaging – with tremendous results.

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They’re using it to both overhaul their customer service operations and scale their marketing and lead generation efforts, whilst creating considerable cost savings.

Transforming your customer service operations

Grupo Savol, a Brazilian car retailer, has been using Messenger for over two years to automate its service bookings using an automated Chatbot to take bookings.

Since setting up the chatbot, it’s seen a 60 per cent reduction in costs, a 98pt increase in Net Promotor Score (NPS) with over 99 per cent of customers fully served on Messenger.

The chatbot generated over 10,000 new bookings over Messenger in a two-year period, yielding a 60 per cent increase in conversion from appointments to completed services and a 10 per cent increase in monthly bookings.

Audi Taiwan wanted to build a modern and functional client engagement platform to foster meaningful relationships with customers.

It built an automated service on Messenger that let customers book test drives, book maintenance, request quotes for used cars and manage their customer loyalty programme.

Outside the industry, in retail, companies like Samsung are using Messenger to deliver best-in-class customer support.

Using a chatbot, they drove a 54pt increase in NPS, a 20 per cent higher volume in messages handled – all whilst reducing their costs by 25 per cent.

High quality leads & improved conversion rates

Messaging isn’t just for customer service, either. Here in the UK, DS Automobiles lets customers book test drives directly through Messenger. The manufacturer saw a 76 per cent increase in test drive leads generated and a 42 per cent decrease in cost per lead from ads that clicked into Messenger compared to onsite lead conversions.

Sales consultants within Brazilian Hyundai dealerships teams usually communicated with potential customers via phone or email after people had filled out a form on the dealership website. They sought to find a faster and more efficient way to engage with people.

They built an automated digital assistant on Messenger, in which people were guided through completing the form via quick replies in a conversation and friendly way. They saw 4x higher sales rates via Messenger and a 3.5x higher conversion rate (compared to leads via email and phone). What’s more, they saw a 13 per cent decrease in cost per lead.

Outside the car industry, retailers like Very.co.uk, are using Messenger bots to guide customers through product range.

Speaking to Elsie the personal shopper, customers could find their ideal Christmas gift from a catalogue of over 255 product choices. The bot generated £4.9m in incremental sales, a 38x return on investment and a 4.4pt lift in favourability.

Two Young Women Checking A Tablet Inside A Car

Getting started

Getting started on Messenger doesn’t have to be difficult – or expensive.

Start by turning on Page messaging in your Page Settings to respond to customers manually. To easily automate responses, you can use Page messaging tools like Greetings, Instant Replies and Away Messages.

These messages help you manage inbound requests, and let customers know when they might be able to expect a response from you.

Next, you’ll want to bring people into the conversation.

Start by adding a Send Message button to your Facebook Page and posts. We know 40 per cent of recent new buyers visited the social media profile of a dealership while buying, so letting customers know you’re available to chat is always a great way to start the conversation.

Next, start adding entry points outside of your social media presence.

With the free Facebook Chat Plugin, you can add your Messenger channel directly onto your website in just a few steps.

With m.me links, you can add hyperlinks that directly take customers to your Messenger inbox in places like your email newsletter or websites, and with Messenger QR codes you can direct customers to Messenger from physical locations.

You can also create ads that bring people directly into the conversation on Facebook or Instagram.


These ads are called ‘Click to Messenger’ ads, and directly take customers into a conversation with you.

To fully unlock the power of Messenger, we recommend engaging a third-party provider specialised in messaging communications.

They’ll be able to help you seamlessly set up automation for some of your most pressing FAQs – freeing your staff up to serve those with more complex, or actual sales-driving questions.

They’ll be able to help you automate service bookings or test drive bookings – reducing operational costs, while improving customer satisfaction.

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The ‘modern way to communicate’

Over 61 per cent of people in the UK told us they had messaged a business in the last three months, over 66 per cent told us messaging a business helps them feel more confident about the brand and more than one in two 1 people surveyed consider business messaging the ‘modern way to communicate’.

Messaging is here to stay – and with Messenger’s easy set-up, wide set of rich features and extensive global reach, we believe Messenger is the perfect way to get started.

To keep up to date with Facebook and the automotive industry please visit our website – click here

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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