First things first – what do we mean by Live Engagement? You’ll have seen the ‘Live Help’ or ‘Live Chat’ buttons on websites that are one click away from a conversation with an agent about your query, order or the service you’re looking for. That’s broadly called Live Engagement. It often starts as a sophisticated ChatBOT experience, which can then route to a text chat conversation with a real agent and might even lead to a face to face video conversation in a dealership.
If you haven’t yet started to investigate the benefits of providing a significantly more personal service to web users and in real-time, maybe now’s the time.
If you’re going to see great results and ROI with Live Customer Engagement, you will need to begin the process by first defining what role this service will play in your business. Do you want it to see sales uplift, secure after-sales business, offer better customer service, or simply improve brand loyalty? Or all four? Whatever you decide to focus on, clear KPIs are critical in terms of measuring the success of the service. Here are 3 key performance indicators you can track and expect to improve with the use of Live Engagement.
The first question you’re likely to be asked when considering any investment in new technology is how many more vehicles will you sell. With Live Engagement technology the accurate answer to that will depend on how many agents you have using the system, the hours of operation you choose, the calibre of the Live Engagement team and your determination to continuously monitor and refine the process. But the simple answer, based on the experience of car dealerships and manufacturers using Live Engagement today is that you will sell significantly more vehicles than without a Live Engagement offer.
Sytner Group was an early adopter of Live Engagement back in 2014, and today they continue to offer the Sytner Live service to website browsers. Here, the ability to meet customers online during the evenings and weekends has extended the service they offer through the dealerships. Customers call with questions and test drive requests at their own convenience and at times to suit them. These initial enquiries also allow the Sytner Live team to pre-qualify customers and ensure that the sales teams understand exactly what the customer is looking for before they call back. This combination of excellent service and at times to suit the customer has resulted in a 35% conversion from the Live Engagement video call to test drive bookings. A significantly higher figure that for those customers who browse the website independently without meeting an agent online.
Customer Service Excellence – improve your NPS scores
In a competitive marketplace, dealerships need to differentiate. A simple way to do this is by building a reputation for customer service excellence, which in turn leads to sales uplift. A survey by DMA indicated that the most important factor in buying a car is receiving good customer service. Every Live Engagement platform will allow customers to feedback on the service, and agent scores following a Live Engagement call are typically much higher than when a customer has called a helpline.
A number of factors influence this: Live Engagement can be offered out of hours when a dealership is closed, giving customers access to one on one support at a time convenient for them - Sytner, for example, notes that 44% of online sales enquiries come between 6pm and 10pm; With Live Engagement, a customer can also co-browse the website with the agent and chat to them at the same time – a great service for customers in the early stage of research when they are browsing multiple websites and looking for help; and mobile cameras used during Live Engagement calls mean that agents in the dealership can walk out on the forecourt to show the online customer around a car; You’ll already know your average net promoter score (NPS) for customer calls, so that’s your base line for improvement. Sytner’s experience with Live Engagement has been NPS scores of 85 – significantly higher than the average 39 for the automotive sector.
Customer Lifecycle Management
Selling a car isn’t the end of a relationship with a customer, but the beginning of a new one and Live Engagement can support here too. In a climate where new car sales have peaked or plateaued, there’s an increased pressure to generate profits from fixed operations.
Adding Live Engagement to the after-sales and servicing area of your website will demonstrate that all customers are important to your business. Customers looking for quality service, transparent information and competitive pricing can speak directly to an agent to discuss options. And continuing this personal dialogue with customers post-sale will build a relationship and ensure that you are well positioned to influence a new car sale down the line. Many car owners report that their experience in the service departments greatly influenced their likelihood of buying another vehicle from the dealership. Live Engagement will help to ensure that your customers’ experience is excellent before they step foot in the dealership.
Wrapping it all up
When investing in any technology for your organisation, it is critical that you are able to define its role within your business plan. Live Engagement technology is no exception. But with several dealerships now using it to communicate with customers to deliver a more personal service both pre and post-sale, and quickly identifying rapid ROI, isn’t it time to see what it is all about?
Priya Iyer is Chairman & CEO of Vee24.