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How to thrive in a digitally accelerated landscape

Welcome to another edition of Dealer Advantage. In this segment, Lori Wittman, SVP Dealer Software Solutions, Cox Automotive, hosts a conversation with Linda Crossman of Byers Auto Group, about exploring  paths to  thrive and profit in today’s automotive retail environment.  For more information on the Thrivers Study, you can download the Thrivers eBook here.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic compelled car dealers to accelerate the adoption of digital retailing to meet their customers in an online-first environment. While this was initially was a means to stay competitive and survive uncertain market conditions, Cox Automotive has developed actionable insights for car dealers that will help them thrive digitally in a post-COVID world.

1. Thrivers offer digital options across the car buying experience

Crossman says that Byers Auto Group understood quickly that in order to meet consumers’ expectations and desires, car dealerships would need to change the ways they do business. So, the group created a new online process called Byers Express, where customers can complete four easy steps including vehicle selection, comparisons, and financing options. This way, customers can have a good idea of what their payment will be for the vehicle they want.

2. Thrivers maximize utilization of data

Car dealers like Byers Auto Group understand the value of data continuity across their systems and processes. Crossman explains that they begin collecting data on the consumer from the very first touchpoint. That data is then readily available to every department including service requests, credit applications, and other digital lead tools. This is especially important for marketing, Crossman says. Not having to rely on third parties for data acquisition is a big advantage.

3. Thrivers adapt to customer desires in fixed ops

According to Crossman, Byers Auto Group uses several key features of the Xtime platform to facilitate a great customer experience in the fixed ops department. Customers really appreciate receiving photos and videos of the work in progress from service technicians and advisors. Crossman says that these images can be sent directly to the customer via text message or email. That way, customers can respond in real-time if they approve the repair or have any questions. This increases consumer trust and transparency.

4. Thrivers invest in their staff

Crossman says she plays a big role in training across the board. She adds that the online training resources provided by Dealertrack DMS and VinSolutions are great tools that she uses frequently. The DMS in Crossman’s words is the nucleus of the whole operation. It allows car dealers to understand where the customer value truly lies. That, in turn,

For more information, check out Cox Automotive’s Thrivers eBook here.

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