Tales from the Dealers Crypt

Real Customer Service Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Whether you’re an auto dealer or an Australian company that sells wallaby bedpans, handling and managing leads is all about good customer service. Want to close more sales? Want to engage customers better? Want to improve your appointment show rate? The answer, as you may have guessed, is to invest (or re-invest) in customer service.

Bad Customer Service Examples

“Wait. Doesn’t everyone know this?”

You’d be surprised at the number of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad customer service tales we’ve heard and even been forced to coach dealers on throughout the years. These are those horror storiesembellished for effectof bone-chillingly awful lead handling, which your dealership could very well relive if you don’t take our tips and examples of great customer service to heart.

But heed our warning: Strange and scary things are indeed afoot, so venture onward if you dare. (Boo!)

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Lead Management: How Good Dealers Measure The Most Vital Metrics

Common sense dictates that you can’t manage and improve upon something without first knowing what needs to be managed and improved. This is true of all forms of digital marketing, but it’s particularly significant when we discuss the most crucial metrics pertaining to dealership lead management. Why? Because some CRM metrics are more important to measure than others; basic KPIs like CLV and clickthrough rates aren’t as critical for auto dealers to track as, say, appointment or closing ratios.

Lead Management Metrics to Measure

So, how do you define the most vital metrics for dealerships to track? And, most importantly, how does one even measure the right lead management KPIs? Let’s see how deep this rabbit hole goes.

What Lead Management KPIs Must Car Dealers Monitor?

Quality Response & Response Time (Time to Convert)

Most dealers know about the critical 72-hour window to turn a lead into a sale. But that window closes a smidge with each passing year, as the newest crops of shoppers—shoppers of the younger, I-want-it-now generation, that is—expect more urgency from their chosen dealership. If dealers aren’t sending timely first responses, either by text, email, or phone, those leads are likely to dry up in mere hours. So, measure your response times in seconds and minutes, not hours or days.

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4 Reasons Why the Future of Dealer CRM Consultancy is 100% Virtual

I was but a young lad when my father bought our family’s first cell phone – a bulky, indestructible son-of-a-gun that has been posthumously named “The Rhino.”

But my dad, rest his soul, was not what you’d call “technologically inclined.” He butt-dialed a lot, and this was years before butt-dialing even became part of society’s lexicon. Ultimately, all that butt-dialing led him to curse [company whose name rhymes with “Boat-arola”] for designing a phone with such terrible battery life. (*Sometime in 1997, The Rhino suspiciously found its way into the trash bin – but perhaps that’s another tale for another day.)

CRM Consultancy Dealer Coaching

My riveting life story is related to automotive consulting and CRM coaching, I promise. (Skip to the “4 Reasons Why the Future of Dealer CRM Consultancy is 100% Virtual”).

Adapting to new trends and technology can feel like a burden, especially for people who are very much set in their ways, like my dad. Shaking things up, blowing away cobwebs, taking breaths of fresh air: These are not mottos by which the “non-technologically inclined” live. We like things just the way they are, thank you very much. (Like father, like son, huh?)

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Long-Term Value Of Refreshing Evergreen Blog Content

Seasonal social media posts and industry news may produce spikes in site visits, but fresh, evergreen content is widely considered to be the load-bearing joist of any good SEO. Like a savings account with compounding interest, your site’s evergreen blogs offer long-lasting value to searchers, thus yielding exponential growth for your entire domain.

Evergreen Content Tips

Still, developing, writing, and refreshing evergreen blogs is hardly easy. Quite the contrary; considering how saturated Google’s search results pages have become, creating worthwhile content is one of the most difficult aspects of today’s SEO. Even optimized with the right keywords and perfectly “skyscrapered” to all heck, your blog may be a dud, left to sit on page 12 with the other doomed posts. That’s just how the cookie crumbles, unfortunately.

Patience and determination, in these situations, are unquestionable virtues. With each regular deposit (blog post) added to your savings account (domain), you’re increasing your potential earned interest (organic traffic) across the board. This takes a lot of hit-or-miss (mostly miss) stabs in the dark, but you’ll eventually land a blow and publish a high-value blog that carries its own weight plus that of those page-12 stragglers.

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CRM Tips: How To Manage Duplicate Leads In VinSolutions & Make More Sales

The choice in CRM makes or breaks a dealership – this is an undebatable fact, like helium being lighter than air or how cats will suck the souls out of newborns when threatened – as a quality CRM allows dealers to truly maximize their potential to convert leads into sales.

Indeed, a good CRM is quite a powerful sales tool – when used properly. The best dealers utilize it in any number of ways: to engage with customers, manage relationships, review reports to uncover additional efficiencies. Yes, some will even go to great lengths to review their duplicate leads.

However, the reality is most stores simply aren’t doing that, nor are they taking full advantage of their software to address common problems with poor staff performance and improper lead handling. (Our analysts and coaches see these issues every day in auditing clients’ CRM usage.)

In our short how-to video and the written tips below, our very own Dealer Operations Analyst, Matt Trudell – enjoy your 15 minutes, bud – showcases ways in which your dealership can make the most of VinSolutions’ Lead History software to locate and assess duplicate leads. Mr. Trudell, take it away. (That means click the image below to watch the video.)


VinSolutions: Understanding the Lead History Tools

First things first, you’ll want to get acquainted with the VinSolutions platform and its various sections. VinSolutions is a great piece of software, and one of the benefits it gives you is the ability to find and link to a customer’s lead history and pertinent details – from many, many accessible places within the CRM.

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Study Of 1000+ Car Dealers Raises Concerns About Industry’s Lead Handling Issues

We made a thing. It’s the most interesting thing in the world, a thing from which legends are born. It’s a thing that could scale Mount Everest, chug through the gallon-milk challenge, solve the climate change crisis.

Of course, the thing to which we’re referring is our lead-handling white paper, “Three Pain Points Preventing Dealerships from Customer Experience & Sales Success.” In it, we discuss the (surprise!) 3 common pain points that dealers experience the most when the chips are down. Backed by science – we conducted a comprehensive 8-month-long study of over 1,000 U.S. auto dealerships’ lead-handling capabilities – and broken down in laymen’s terms, the white paper dissects the major problems that limit dealers’ conversions, as well as solutions that may kick sales back into the black.

Dealer Lead Handling Pain Points

The data is pretty jarring. Here’s a brief overview of the more staggering, salient, and sometimes salacious statistics we uncovered. (Or you could just download the full white paper for free here.)

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How to Write Email Subject Lines that Actually Get Opened

Want to transform into the Master Splinter of the email-verse? It all starts with catchy subject lines, which are super-easy to write!

Just kidding—creating emails that get opened is far from simple. In fact, considering the relentless evolution of spam filters and tabbed Gmail inboxes, it’s a miracle anyone even sees your emails let alone opens them.

Email Subject Lines That Work

Hey, don’t be discouraged! The fight for inbox visibility is not a fruitless endeavor. We’ve compiled a short list of tips to help you out. Follow these email best practices to master the art of writing brilliant subject lines that harvest more clicks and, ultimately, those delicious leads. (And, yes, that was indeed a Ninja Turtles reference.)

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Subject Lines

Did you know that the average person receives over 100 emails per day? That means your email is competing against hundreds of others for primetime pupil real estate. To make sure your emails make it to the front lines, understanding the differences between good subject lines and bad ones is priority #1.

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2019’s Biggest Threat to Car Dealers? Bad Social Media Reviews.

Autonomous vehicles, online car shopping, and ridesharing have been gradually picking away at auto dealers’ profits, but there’s another, perhaps even larger threat lurking in the shadows: bad customer reviews on social media.

In a recent 23,000-participant study conducted by our sister company MaritzCX, approximately six in ten respondents stated that social media reviews directly impacted their last auto purchase decision. That number climbs markedly for car buyers under the age of 35 years, as 63% of younger shoppers read online social media reviews before choosing a vehicle. It’s no surprise that social media has quickly become a popular and trusted source of reference for car shoppers; this is apparently just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

Bad Social Media Dealer Reviews

But unlike self-driving cars, online dealerships, and rideshares – all of which contribute to the forced evolution of auto dealers vis-à-vis natural selection – threats such as negative social media reviews aren’t just part of doing business in the modern era. Au contraire, mon ami! By understanding how auto buyers use social media reviews to make decisions, car dealers actually have the capability of deescalating these threats to avoid earning Darwin Awards.

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Use Google Posts to Advertise Dealer Lease Offers & Specials

I may sound like a severely broken record here, but not a month goes by without Google changing the way the game’s played. This month’s offering? The inclusion of a new “Offer” category within Google Posts.

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I care about Google Posts?”

Just hear me out, would ya?

Once a virtually dead feature for car dealers, Google Posts has finally come full circle, evolving into a powerful tool that adds supplemental value to branded paid search campaigns. With the most recent updates in the Google My Business platform, dealerships far and wide can now utilize the revitalized Google Posts to highlight daily, weekly, or monthly vehicle lease offers and finance deals. What an exciting time to be alive!

Google Offers Dealership

The Lowdown on Google Offers for Dealers

Before the implementation of an official “Offers” category, Google limited users to publish “What’s New” and “Events” posts. As a dealer, you likely saw limited benefits from either of these types of posts. After all, your potential leads want easy access to concrete data when researching vehicles—prices, savings, percentages, interest rates—not just information about a monthly sales event. The new Offers category opens many additional doors for those leads to walk through.

Here’s how it works:

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7 White Hat SEM Tactics to Become Google’s BFF

Breaking into a bank vault and making out like a literal bandit can be easier than pushing to the top of a SERP. But D. B. Cooper did it, so why can’t you? As you whittle away at those rankings, be sure to befriend Google and its mysterious algorithms by taking a stab at these white hat SEM tactics. Before you know it, you’ll be finishing each other’s…sandwiches.

Organic Search Decline

Source: Merkle

7. Diversify Your Branded Marketing Strategy

Of no surprise to anyone whose work has been to whack through Google’s weeds over the years, organic traffic is way down (see above). Where has that traffic gone, you ask? Google has kidnapped it, locked it in a dark-search basement, and there’s no ransom note for its safe return. You’re now having to replace that traffic with Google’s own properties: Reviews, Ads, Knowledge Panels, Answer Boxes, Maps—and the list goes on each time a new Google feature is released.

Yes, it’s true that Google has all your information. Yes, it’s true that over 34% of searches now result in NO CLICK AT ALL. Yes, it’s true that Google controls about 93% of the market. But you do have options to build a branded SERP.

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