“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Henry Ford
Reputation is made in the dealership, not online. As Henry Ford sagely observed when the automotive industry was in its infancy, reputation is based on historical performance, not future promises. Reputation management begins with the processes in place in the store and, at the most fundamental level, how customers are treated in every department in the dealership.
Today, four years later, as we continue to help dealers to understand and protect the reputation of their business online, we can’t help but feel that we are entering a bit of a reputation management renaissance. We see that many automobile dealers have reached a level of acceptance that online review sites are a fact of life and, given that most consumers conduct online research before purchasing or servicing a vehicle and that research often includes online review sites, what people have written about their business on these sites has an impact on their bottom line. More and more dealers understand and accept that, just as an online reputation “problem” is not created overnight, it is also not something that can be fixed quickly by external means.Underlying process issues must be addressed, employees may need to be retrained or removed. Online reputation is also not something to be gamed. It is something that must be tended to and nurtured daily and in every customer interaction.
Automobile dealers don’t need a miracle cure for online reputation. In fact, if a solution promises a result that sound too good to be true, it probably is. As much as we all love quick fixes, slow and steady really does win the race, or since this is more of a long haul, it would probably be more accurate to call it a marathon. What automobile dealers really need in this marathon is a good reputation management partner.
A good reputation management partner will help their automobile dealership clients to:
- ·Stay on top of the flow of reviews on the many online review sites where customers share their experiences with businesses with other consumers. Monitoring a dozen or more online review sites daily while still performing the core business activities of an automobile dealership is incredibly challenging. A good partner will do the heavy lifting of monitoring the sites for new reviews and serve up the information, perhaps even a suggested response, to the client to free up the clients time of the business of their business.
- ·Look past the criticism in consumer reviews, resist the urge to take perceived criticism personally and find potential business intelligence in it instead.
- ·Stay apprised of changes on online review site policies and relationships and in the digital landscape, in general, as well as the potential implications to the business, and refine strategies accordingly.
- ·Develop systems and strategies for gauging customer satisfaction, evaluating whether processes are taking hold and working as intended to improve customer experience from a consumer’s perspective, working with dissatisfied customers to resolve issues and encouraging customers to share their dealership experience with other by writing online reviews
- ·Create a culture where offering excellent consumer experience and a positive online reputation are unique value propositions that distinguish the dealership from competitors in the marketplace.
Drive traffic and conversions with automated messaging backed by the type of informative content consumers are looking for online.
- Drive web, phone, and foot traffic related to service
- Drive service traffic to provide customers with timely information relevant to where they are in the vehicle lifecycle.
- Do what you do best: provide customers with outstanding service with each visit.
- Keep customers coming back to your service department until they are ready to purchase their next vehicle from you.
Bridge the gaps between the showroom floor and the service department and marketing and operations with robust messaging tracks that transition your customers from sales to service is absolutely a best practice for your service drive. But back that automated messaging with hundreds of informative articles that provide the information consumers are looking for online and keep your customers on the loyalty track so they don't even think about going anywhere but the dealership where they purchased their car for all of their maintenance and service needs? You've got yourself a recipe for customer service retention that will organically grow over time and create staying power for your dealership long-term.
See it in action at Digital Dealer 16. We'll be at Booth 800 showing off our revolutionary enterprise-level solution powered by the world's largest CRM system and fully integrated with 3 Birds' demand generation and retention platform. There's nothing quite like it. We hope to see you at the show, but either way, contact us to see how it can work for your dealership.
Targeted Multichannel Marketing Package Influences 44 Sold Vehicles Overall
A 5 rooftop multi-brand dealership located in Durham, NC that offers highline, import and domestic brands and also maintains an extensive inventory of pre-owned vehicles and services all major brands faces a unique challenge: finding an effective yet easily manageable way to appeal to potential buyers of different brands with varying target audiences.
The multichannel, multi-touch point approach to increasing conversions
After speaking with dealership representatives to further understand the specific challenges and objectives, their 3 Birds digital strategist recommended a custom digital marketing package, a multichannel marketing campaign with data-targeted follow-up sends to maximize engagement and opportunities for vehicle sales. 3 Birds’ digital marketing packages include, at minimum, an email campaign leveraging current OEM offers with tier-1 quality creative, 3 data-targeted follow-up sends, and a corresponding landing page optimized for conversions. There is also the option to add consistently branded website sliders, Facebook cover art and timeline imagery, and direct mail pieces. Digital marketing packages work in conjunction with 3 Birds’ digital marketing platform, leveraging ongoing customer data and business intelligence from previous digital campaign and newsletter sends to identify areas of opportunity.
As a longtime 3 Birds newsletter client, the dealership worked with their 3 Birds Digital Strategist to utilize existing business intelligence gathered through previous sends and interpreted through The Wire reporting data for an End of the Year sales event. The data-targeted follow-ups effectively marketed the group’s five brands by highlighting each facet of the dealership’s products and services, including:
- One “can’t-miss” offer from each of their five brands
- An additional “wild card” service special to bring in additional customers who weren’t necessarily in the market for a new vehicle
- Used car inventory calls-to-action
- Dealership-specific “value your trade” calls-to-action
The results of the campaign segment speak for themselves and far exceeded even the client’s high expectations. Results included:
- Over 1,000 new clicks available hours after send
- 44 customers who received the email followed up to purchase
Efficient and timely digital marketing efforts reap ROI benefits
In this case, traditional marketing avenues alone would have been a costly investment with little opportunity for targeted follow-up. 3 Birds’ digital marketing packages' highly targeted, multichannel approach allowed the client to build on their existing business data to deliver multiple high-performing marketing touches.
Generate demand, not just leads.
It’s simple, then: get more people in the showroom on a regular basis and you’ll sell more cars. While this is mathematically correct, it doesn’t reflect the modern consumer’s purchase decision journey or their shopping habits, which is anything but linear, as seen in the model below.
Before your dealership can drive traffic to your website or your showroom, there needs to be an increase in demand or a reason for potential customers to check out your dealership in the first place. Implementing systems that will consistently and organically generate demand for your dealership and, by extension, leads, can prevent your sales and service team from running in place month after month when it comes to building revenue long-term.
Consumers today take care of the "kicking the tires" part of the search process online, not by visiting your dealership. This online search process is a huge area of opportunity for the dealership and a chance to build a relationship with the consumer that will eventually build revenue over time. Consumers today try and find out everything they need to know consult as many as 18.2 online information sources before making a decision
A lack of time and resources makes it tempting to ignore the issue of demand generation and hope for the best by focusing on internal processes and sales tactics or turn to stop-gap measures such as email “blasts” to achieve the end-goal of revenue we saw in the formula above. There is another--and more sustainable—way. 3 Birds offers a variety of demand generation strategies to provide valuable content, generate awareness and engage customers throughout their sales and service lifecycle, including:
·Digital marketing packs offer an integrated, multi-channel approach to monthly messaging and include data-targeted followups for increased engagement.
·eCommerce lead nurturing templates bridging the gaps between a customer’s last sale or service appointment and their next.
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Geoff speaks out about the Fixed Ops Retention Suite and what he loves about being new to Chapel Hill.
Q: How did your career lead you to your current role at 3 Birds?
A: I got my first taste of the business as a marketing intern with Crown Automotive in Greensboro, NC while in college at Appalachian State University and stayed on in a sales role after graduation at Crown Nissan. I was promoted to F&I after about a year of sales, eventually serving as the corporate floater for the 16 Crown dealerships.
I took a heavy interest in the digital side of things, which led to me entering the Internet Sales/Ecommerce space and managing Crown’s internet sales departments. Over the next 5 years, my role grew to oversee a regional team, finally managing e-commerce and digital marketing operations for the Asbury Automotive group of over 80 dealerships.
Q: Where does your expertise lie in the current automotive marketing industry?
A: Throughout my career, I’ve seen the importance of automotive digital marketing and ecommerce process. I’ve had extensive experience with CRM process and training, DMS utilization, dealer websites, inventory polling, and all dealership processes from sales to fixed. I’ve also had the opportunity to work and collaborate with many vendors in the space, including website providers, inventory providers, 3rd party leads providers, SEM and display, and many more.
Q: How do you think the 3 Birds Fixed Ops Customer Retention Suite differs from what’s out there?
A: The automotive digital space has so many options when it comes to the products a dealer can choose. With the 3 Birds product suite, we combine the much-needed Fixed Ops digital marketing products into one turnkey solution. This prevents the dealer from having to manage multiple vendors and can now have one central voice and message. What I like most about our products is that they are primarily automated. A dealer can grow its RO count, $ per RO, and overall retention without having to completely change its current processes.
Q: What are your favorite things about the Chapel Hill area?
A: Since moving to Chapel Hill in December of 2013, I’ve fallen in love with the area. There are always things to do and people on the move. College towns keep you young. I love the food scene, including Med Deli, Al’s Burgers, Carrburritos, and 411 West Italian Café. My wife and I look forward to raising our first born in Chapel Hill.
As recent snafus show, monitoring your social media channels is a full-time job
They say hindsight is 20/20—and when social media disasters happen to businesses, it’s tempting to look back at which decisions could have been made differently to avoid them. When online engagement backfires, though, the decisions you make next are just as important. That means full-time monitoring of your social media channels and the ability to overcome customers’ negative perceptions. What can you take away from these recent social media horror stories?
Inappropriate image sends US Airways Twitter feed off-course
On April 14th, US Airways found itself engaged in an increasingly heated Twitter conversation with a customer. After previously tweeting to the customer regarding a recent delay, the airline published another response containing a lewd image of a woman and model airplane. The tweet was online for approximately an hour before being removed. The same picture had been attached to a tweet sent to @AmericanAir 30 minutes before the US Airways post—both airlines use the same social media tool.
When the issue was discovered, the airline removed the post and tweeted an apology (which has received over 14,000 retweets and 11,000 favorites). US Airways later released an apology statement on Twitter, but the fact that this image remained online for an hour is a cautionary tale to any business engaging online and clearly can be a full-time job.
Recent #myNYPD social media campaign backfires with wave of anti-cop messages
It all started with an innocent (if naïve) invitation from the New York Police Department: “Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD. It may be featured on our Facebook.” The responses didn’t take long to start rolling in—but they weren’t exactly what the NYPD expected. Instead, tweeters shared images referring to alleged cases of police brutality, first in New York and then spreading to cities like Chicago, Albuquerque, and Los Angeles.
The wave of social media responses referred to both well-known historical cases and more recent instances. Over 110,000 tweets with the hashtag #myNYPD were submitted before Police Commissioner Bill Bratton responded, saying he welcomed the negative responses and that many of the images referred to old stories.
Is your social media monitoring framework in place?
3 Birds actively identifies problems like these each month and works quickly to intercept and address them. Both the speed and quality of your response can have a significant impact on how customers perceive your business in the wake of a social media disaster. But placing one of your own team members on constant “hall monitor” duty isn’t necessarily a cost-effective solution. Learn more about our Loyalty & Engagement services and count on peace of mind no matter what your dealership's social media future brings.
An overview of two major social media updates
Miss out on any of the recent updates that could have big repercussions for your digital marketing? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.
- Yahoo Local joins with Yelp for enhanced user experience
The short story: Digital-savvy dealerships have recognized the importance of Yelp reviews and Yahoo Local listings (along with other consumer review sites) for years now, but the integration of these two listings could shake up existing social media strategy. Yahoo Local pages will now integrate Yelp reviews and user-uploaded photos—good news for users, and potentially eases review management at the page level .
Since our original coverage of the merger over on our blog, much of the talk surrounding this merger has involved small business owvers' discovery of Yahoo Local reviews, many of them positive, disappearing to be replaced by Yelp reviews. Just another reason we recommend that our clients not all put their virtual reviews into one review site basket but instead evenly distribute them across the leading major review sites consumers care about most in order to have a balanced and positive presence online.
- Facebook unveils major new look for Business pages
The short story: Your Facebook Business page is the center of your engagement efforts on the largest social media site, so it’s safe to say keeping it updated with relevant and shareable content should be a big focus. But have you ever considered the layout of the page itself? With Facebook’s recent changes, it’s time to do just that.
The new page shifts to a one-column layout for updates that’s heavily reminiscent of the Twitter platform. This means page updates and interactions are now more graphically driven, while important business info, maps, and descriptions are easier to find in a new left-hand column. In addition, Facebook introduced new Admin tools to make it easier to find key metrics on the Insights page.
What’s next? We’re monitoring recently-introduced Facebook reviews to see how they fit into this new layout and how they affect visitors’ time on your page. Keep an eye on our blog to stay up to date or contact us to start a conversation today.