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By now every dealership general manager, sales manager and service manager has heard about the power of “the digital age.”

And they’re either all-in or skeptical. Let’s face it: The idea of consumers empowered by search engines and websites seems counterintuitive to good customer service. Where’s the service drive at a Carvana vending machine? Where’s the friendly expert, diagnosing and talking about your car at a Tesla kiosk…or in front of the Amazon screen?

That experience doesn’t seem very powerful. At least not when compared to what dealerships can offer.

Get Digital in Almost Every Way

As true as that may be, it doesn’t mean a dealer manager can avoid, or ignore, the reality of our era. According to a recent J.D. Power Study, satisfaction is 75 points higher (on a 1,000-point scale) among customers who have an all-digital experience, compared with one that is all analog. Customers prefer to schedule service via the internet and communicate with the dealer through text messages, rather than doing those tasks via phone. The study also notes that customer satisfaction increases even further when a service advisor uses a tablet during the service visit. These types of consumer preferences are forcing a disruptive transformation based on the effective use of technology: To provide information, speed up the process, and improve communication.

That’s it.

It improves the most important aspects of a service appointment by increasing transparency for all, expanding and accelerating communication options, and enabling the sharing of vital information. That makes service appointments faster, and customer relationships stronger. The reality of today’s digital age is that consumers now expect a digital, and mobile, experience, to the point that not operating from a digital foundation is a non-starter. Traditional industries like real estate have also undergone a transformation: According to the National Association of Realtors Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report for 2018, 44% of home shoppers began their search online – a shift of 20 points since the eighties. Part of this is due to changes to active generations. The same study reported that 99% of millennials search for homes online.

Of course, dealerships are also feeling the change. With millennials and Gen Z emerging as the primary shoppers, service managers should be thinking about how to leverage the new reality of customers who treat technology as a fundamental part of their daily experience. Digitizing every customer touchpoint can boost productivity, growth and profitability while enhancing the customer experience. Just think how valuable a comprehensive service delivery platform (including texting) would be – one that manages the entire customer lifecycle, and seamlessly integrates vehicle data with manufacturer systems and your DMS. This gives dealerships real-time access to important data and performance analytics that transform the entire process.

A Culture of Transparency

As impressive as technology can be, it’s not effective unless the dealership is ready and able to shift their approach and change the service department culture. To start, show staff why they should use digital tools, and how digitization will help them “over-deliver” on every interaction and commitment. A simple and effective way to begin this process is to change performance measurement towards customer-centric metrics – especially improvements in satisfaction and loyalty. Ultimately, however, the most important shift most dealers must make is to create a transparent process – especially about things like up-front costs. Transparency also builds trust with and for customers – and improves the service department’s ability to get the job done right the first time. It’s the kind of transparency that comes with improved communication.   

Ultimately, as great as technology can be, it’s only as good as the service department around it – which is why a culture of transparency is so important. The digitization of the service drive is like any other tool: training, support and collaboration make it all come together. Software doesn’t ever work right if the dealership culture isn’t ready. To get there, focus on developing a culture of transparency that prioritizes the customer experience – and use digital tools to make it happen.

Creating an Exceptional Experience is the Point of the Digital Age

Digitization enables your team to enhance the customer experience and increase throughput, capacity and revenue. But it’s not as if the mere existence of digital tools makes the magic happen. A digital experience simply facilitates a better person-to-person experience which is what customers want most. According to PwC’s Experience is Everything, Get it Right. Study, speed and efficiency (80%); knowledgeable and helpful employees (78%); and convenience (77%) matter most when it comes to a general customer experience. The report found that these “cornerstone CX elements are so highly valued that 52% of consumers would pay more for greater speed and efficiency; 43% for greater convenience; and 41% would pay more for knowledgeable and helpful employees.”

Fast, friendly, and expert service. That creates happy customers – and happy customers translate into repeat customers. Carlisle & Company found that satisfied service customers are 36% more likely to purchase a vehicle from the same brand.    

Now that sounds like something a dealership can deliver, far better than any vending machine.

The takeaway is that creating a service experience that delights customers is essential in today’s market. And customers are even telling us what they want: an efficient and transparent process that uses digital technology to create a human connection. Now that’s an exceptional experience.

What’s Next?

We drive the digital transformation of dealerships with the only end-to-end platform that gives your employees the tools they need to satisfy customers while driving higher revenue and profits.


Dealer-FX is ready to provide complete digital marketing services for Mitsubishi Motors Dealer network in Canada.

Toronto, May 14, 2019 — Dealer-FX, the leading customer experience management provider for automotive OEMs and retailers, today announced their selection as a preferred partner of Mitsubishi Motors Canada Tier 3 marketing.

“Nearly 90% of vehicle shoppers do some research online before actually setting foot in a store. It’s crucial for dealers to be in front of potential buyers at all steps in the purchase decision process,” said Gary Kalk, President & CEO of Dealer-FX. “We’re pleased to extend our existing relationship with Mitsubishi Motors Canada in providing proven digital marketing solutions for their dealer network.”

Dealer-FX makes it easy to build strong relationships through data-driven and on-target social and digital programs designed to connect with customers. Because customer connections are the lifeline of successful dealerships, effective digital marketing is key to making those connections permanent. Dealer-FX works directly with each dealership to understand its unique positioning to build an effective marketing strategy to engage their audience. Among the advertising solutions available to Mitsubishi Motors dealers in Canada are Social Media Advertising, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Management, Email Marketing, Conquest Email Marketing and Reputation Management.

“We are pleased to announce that Dealer-FX is now a preferred partner of Mitsubishi Motors Canada marketing,” said Steve Carter, Director of Marketing, Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc. “Creating a premium digital experience for our customers from corporate to the dealership that is easy-to-use, informative and rich in content is important to the overall customer experience at Mitsubishi Motors. Dealer-FX helps us achieve these goals by helping us to provide a seamless end-to-end digital journey.”

Dealer-FX has been an existing partner of Mitsubishi Motor  Sales of Canada, Inc. for the last nine years, powering MiCAR, an after-sales technology platform, in addition to providing various digital marketing programs at both the Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels.

About Dealer-FX

Dealer-FX is transforming how consumers interact with automotive brands and their retailers. Our customer experience management platform uses advanced data analysis and mobile applications to deliver convenience, transparency and trust to consumers, and increased efficiency, profitability, retention and brand loyalty to OEMs and dealers. We are backed by the strength and resources of HGGC, a private equity firm in Palo Alto, CA. Our core offering, ONE Platform, is comprised of seven components, which along with the Service Dashboard, manage the entire service experience from initial contact through drive-off and to next visit. It delivers the best dealer service experience. Period.

Dealer-FX is the exclusive or preferred service technology provider for Mitsubishi, FCA, Nissan, Infiniti, Toyota, Lexus, Audi and several other OEMs in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and has more than 2,500 dealership clients. Dealer-FX is based in Toronto. For more information please visit dealer-fx.com, or connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Dealer-FX Contact
Dennis Welsh, Director of Marketing
(877) 493-0039 x216
pr@dealer-fx.com

About Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc.

Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada is the sales, service, parts and marketing arm for Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors. With a product range consisting of Mirage and Mirage G4, RVR compact crossover, Outlander compact sport utility and Outlander PHEV, and Eclipse Cross, MMSCAN supports its dealerships with a head office team and parts distribution centre — both located in Mississauga, Ontario. Established in 2002, MMSCAN and its dealerships employ over 1,200 people in communities large and small. In 2016, MMSCAN became the only automaker to partner with Breakfast Club of Canada with a goal of stimulating young minds and a brighter future in communities across the land.

MMSCAN MEDIA CONTACT
Michelle Lee-Gracey, Manager, Public Relations
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada
michelle.lee-gracey@mmcan.ca

Every day, customers come and go through the dealership service drive, the happy result of effective sales and digital marketing efforts that span all aspects of your business.

Increasingly, that flow of business is dictated by online activity. Indeed, according to Google, 4-in-5 customers use search engines to find information before making a purchase decision – the first stop on a journey that will take them to your website.

Dealer-FX Connect Digital Marketing

While the use of websites, search and social media is a fact of life, dealership efforts to market across these channels can be frustrating. Here are three simple, realistic and affordable things your team can do to help improve your store’s digital marketing efforts:

#1: Start a Customer Success Blog

Success stories happen at your dealership service department every day – and many are worth sharing. The customer who came in over the weekend with an unexpected repair need, or the harried commuter who must squeeze a service appointment between three meetings and a soccer practice…all are potential stories that accurately depict the commitment your team makes to deliver excellent customer service. The key is consistency: decide how you plan to write up the story, who will do it, and how often. Just once a month is a perfect start.

The tough part? Commitment. Stick to it for one year and support it as a priority. You’ll be glad you did, because showcasing customer success stories is a powerful way to use digital marketing to show the value your dealership provides. It also helps to improve overall search results to your dealership website and illustrates how your service department actively cares and shares their good work. Connect the blog to your website service pages, and online appointment section, so that potential customers will see the stories while they’re looking for service pricing and appointment tools.

#2: Tell Your Service Story

Your website is a vital sales and marketing tool – and that goes double for the service department. In general, potential customers value dealership service departments because of the expertise they provide and the value-add of better customer service.

That doesn’t mean they’re just going to show up, however: customers look for confirmation that they’ll get what they’re looking for when they visit your website. Show them just how strong your team is by adding a service-related content to your “About Us” page on your website. Add a section about certifications that shows just how much a technician needs to know about your vehicles before they get the tools out. Illustrate your service commitment and benefits, such as free wi-fi, available loaner vehicles, shuttles, and more.

Sure, independent shops may be able to beat you on price. But they can’t beat the expertise of your team or the value of your service. Show that where it matters most, on your dealer website and via digital marketing. That’s where many customers make their minds up about where to go.

#3: Think Search, SEO and Google E.A.T

When it comes to revenue and profit, service departments are often the foundation of your dealership. That’s common knowledge. But they’re also a major pillar to the overall success of your digital campaigns, whether meant to boost ROs or new car sales.

Why? Search. According to Google, 53% of searchers click on the first organic result – and 25% click on the second or third result. The fact is that Google and Bing control the traffic flow of vast numbers of potential customers. That makes it vitally important to produce parts and service-related content, invest in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to drive targeted traffic to your website and commit to a consistent social media approach – including just primary channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The importance of SEO and SEM just can’t be overstated when it comes to using digital marketing. And it’s something that requires expertise in the space. For example, over the past few years it has become clear just how important authoritative content is to Google search rankings. The company uses the acronym E.A.T to gauge the level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness found on a website – especially for commerce websites that promote the sale and service of complicated products – like cars. Google’s E.A.T rating impacts the quality rating of your dealership’s website, which ultimately dictates ranking in good and bad ways. Here’s a basic overview:

Expertise: Show your skill and expertise. As in #2 above, use service to prove your expertise. It’s vital to build content on your service pages that support the expertise found at your service drive every day.

Authoritativeness: If your website has a service forum or community, actively monitor the conversation in terms of quality; nonsense threads will bring down your authority score. In addition, consider adding short bios about your service manager and senior service employees. Google likes to see authority!

Trustworthiness: Consider adding basic service pricing to your website. Your customers will appreciate it, and it may help improve search results thanks to Google’s “T” in E.A.T. At a minimum, make sure your website has an active SSL certificate.

How Can Dealer-FX Help?

At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge marketing services that help to deliver the right message at the right time — via the right digital channel. How can we help you? Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX Connect.