How to Get the Most Out of Customer Data by Using the Personal Touch

The auto industry is blessed with an abundance of data that can help us do our jobs better. But there are too many situations where that data is not used effectively – and customers’ expectations aren’t met, leads are missed and sales are lost.

A good dealership website that fosters customer connections is a great investment – if and only if dealers do something with those connections. Dealers are simply wasting money when they don’t capitalize on those customer insights.

Dealers are failing to take advantage of their internet leads more often than you might think. In fact, about one in four customers that contact dealerships online never get a response. At the same time, research from Autotrader reveals that consumers prefer to purchase their vehicles from dealerships that give them a great experience over the lowest price.

As an industry, we’re currently falling short in giving customers a great experience. But if we use the data we have to personalize the customer experience, sales and retention will improve.

Gather customer data immediately
Data gathering should always begin the moment a potential customer takes the time to reach out to you.

At initial contact, your customers provide you with contact information, what type of car they are looking for and other critical indicators. All this information – along with every conversation with the customer that follows – must be entered into your CRM system.

Logging this data equips your staff with the information they need to speak knowledgably with any customer about their sales and service history, personal information and all other essential details.

Add a personal touch
If all you ever discuss with your customers is what vehicle they want to buy next, you’re doing it wrong.

At the end of the day, your customers are people, and they like to be treated as such. Showing interest in your customers beyond the potential sale – and adding what you learn into your CRM – gives you an opportunity to personalize every interaction you have and show the customer you genuinely care.

To deliver an excellent customer experience, you have to know your customers better than ever before, which makes utilization of your CRM more important than ever before. When used well, your CRM helps you gather, retain and use data to your advantage. By creating customer profiles that help you understand and measure behaviors, you can better tailor communication, and send that communication at the right time in the customer journey.

Using your data and insights to give each customer’s experience a personal touch builds stronger relationships, which in turn helps sales and retention.

A version of this post originally appeared in Dealer Marketing Magazine.

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