The Digital Dealership – Self Serve

Digital Dealership – Self-Serve 

In tonight’s blog, guest writer Mets Kramer continues to speak on the digital dealership and the freedom it gives us when it comes to self serve.

Satisfying our Self-Serve Desire

Last Month, I did something I haven’t in a long time.  On a trip back home, I came across a Full Serve gas station and used it! These used to be the norm, no one pumped their own gas, and every teenager had a job. Then the world started changing. Gas became more expensive, as did the teens, and self-serve became more common.  Why pay extra and wait for the slow teenager to pump your gas when you just do it yourself and get it done faster and easier? In the same way more and more things have become self-serve.  Self-serve gives us the feeling of moving at the pace we want and reduces the need to interact with other people.  It’s not that we’re asocial, but it does feel like other people slow us down, or we have to wait to get access.

So, now we live in a world that has been designed and tooled to allow us to do things for ourselves, often from our phone.   Even the most “Full Service” new trend is really just self-service.   Ordering your dinner though an app such as Uber Eats, or Door dash is really about satisfying your desire to make things easy and at your pace.   Multiple restaurants are presented to you to review and decide what you’re “cooking for dinner”, payment is processed online, and the food shows up ready to go.  A full Self-Service Experience.

The truth is, each of us are becoming more accustomed to and preferring of Self Service.   It lets us do things when we want, where we want and at our own pace.

Your dealership should be no different.  Your customers are people, like yourself, who increasingly prefer the self-service option.  They want to have more information presented about their decision than if they call a person.  Just like you, your customers research and look up information about what they need on a plethora of sites.  Then they find the easiest way to acquire what they want or need.   This is a significant change from the mindset of the past, which looked to person to person contact for the highest level of service.

So, what are the main aspects of a self-service approach in a Digital Dealership

  1. Provide information
  2. Support the preferred communications methods
  3. Deliver the product/service

First, don’t be short on information.  If you have information to help the customer, make decisions, present it while the customer is in the research phase.  If they don’t find what they are looking for, they, like you, are quick to do a second Google search for what they need.   This information can be presented on open webpages, but also presented only to trusted visitors to your digital dealership.

Next allow your customers to communicate with you the way they want, but don’t “Drop the call”.   Too many dealers drive their customers to forms that end up in email boxes.   The response rate and times are terrible.  If it, was you and any other method, you wouldn’t stand for it.  So why do this to your customers.   Make sure every channel is viewed in real time, during extended business hours.   Make sure contact info is checked and related to your CRM data and finally make sure you respond quickly, and preferably in the format the customer contacted you.

Finally, enable delivery.  By delivery I mean take the transaction as far as possible.  If you’re listing items or services through any of your digital channels, enable an immediate action option.  Call it a “Buy it Now” button.   We are all familiar with that.  This doesn’t mean you have to provide digital payment processing, but you can capture commitment from the customer.  In this case we want to enable and cement the customer’s decision.  When you offer the customer a “Contact Us” form to fill when they want to buy, it leaves the door open for them to keep searching.   A “Buy It Now” button allows the customer to feel like they have solved their problem.

We all think our time is valuable.  We want to make sure the time we spend on resolving a need, is efficiently spent.  This is what has driven our Self Service digitally enabled world.  When I go to Starbucks and order my coffee, I now do it from my app.  It remembers what I want, it pays for me, and I just walk in and grab it from the counter.   That’s a Digital Coffee Shop, supported by a bricks and mortar building with a real human barista.   I always have the option to walk in and have a chat while I place my order, but I can use a digital channel if I’m in a hurry.

Your digital dealership shouldn’t be any different.

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