The “Connected Car” is the industry’s buzz, but we should really be talking about the “Connected Consumer.”
For over ten years, the auto industry has obsessed over the “connected car” and all the components needed to aggregate vehicle data and information to support future product development, identify service opportunities, and more.
With so much conversation around the connected car, we’ve lost sight of the ultimate objective: Connecting with the consumer and creating an ongoing relationship that leads to a loyal and connected customer.
Consider this: today’s vehicle has ~176 “connection points.” The car is essentially a software platform that gathers info on everything. This information includes everything from driving habits to vehicle performance, and communicating to drivers, service providers, emergency operators, dealerships, OEMs, etc.
The consumer has thousands of communication points, 36 of which are specific touchpoints on the road to purchase and ownership. This includes the Department of Motor Vehicles, their insurance company, F&I provider, lender, and dealership.
This means there is an abundance of ways for dealers to connect with them – personally and meaningfully. Dealers, lenders, OEMs, and F&I providers are all focused on delivering timely and relevant messaging to the customer at the right time using the best medium. This is done throughout the consumer’s path to purchase and beyond using technology and data. The vehicle is the optimal platform to speak to their captive audience.
Connecting the Connected Car to the Connected Consumer
Digital Air Strike released its 9th Annual Automotive Customer Experience Trends Study in March 2022. We surveyed 5,000 consumers on what they looked for in a dealership, the impact of vehicle inventory shortages, and what influenced their car buying or servicing decisions.
Four key observations showed how today’s consumers want to be more connected through personalized communication.
- A High Need-to-Know. 20% of consumers said the dealer didn’t keep them informed about the status of their vehicle order.
- No Response is No Bueno. 31% said they didn’t get any pertinent information from a dealership in response to their query about a vehicle purchase. That’s up from 6% previously, so it’s trending in the wrong direction.
- What They Said. 93% of vehicle buyers, and 87% of service customers, said online review sites influenced their dealership selection process.
- Go with the Flow. Many consumers are streaming content over watching traditional broadcast and cable. 70% of consumers watched movies, sports, and shows on streaming platforms. Streaming ads are an untapped resource for communicating with consumers.
There is a lot of excellent technology available today. There’s almost no reason to miss an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with the consumer to provide a better customer experience. Dealers can leverage vehicle data and platforms in creative ways that drive loyalty, foster engagement, and boost revenue in service, sales, and F&I.
How do you know if you’re maximizing the relationship between the connected consumer and the connected car? The first step is to identify gaps in your consumer communications through an audit. This analyzes everything from a store’s online presence to how and when it communicates and with whom. Most dealers are surprised at the chasm between how they think they are presenting themselves versus how consumers perceive them.