Welcome to another edition of Inside Automotive with Jim Fitzpatrick. Communicating with car buyers today is about more than showing and selling a product—it’s about establishing long-term relationships and building customer loyalty. Joining us now to discuss how Digital Air Strike is helping car dealers boost meaningful engagement with consumers, is Co-founder and CEO, Alexi Venneri.
According to Digital Air Strike’s recent Customer Experience Trends Study, 60% of vehicle buyers and service customers say they prefer online and text communications. This is an increase of 15% since the previous Customer Experience Trends Study conducted pre-COVID-19, says Venneri. The upside for car dealers is that they can do a lot more with a lot less by leveraging digital communication technology.
During the height of COVID-19, Digital Air Strike launched Power Texts, which started as more of an alerting system. Venneri explains that, at first, the system let consumers know about safety protocols, appointments, and test drives at home. Since the start of Power Texts, Digital Air Strike has not received one single consumer complaint, and the company continues to help dealers enable their digital communication capabilities.
Leads are more valuable than ever before. However, the Customer Experience Trends Study found that three times as many car buyers say a dealership never responded to their request for information compared to the previous study. Venneri says it’s no secret that the industry is facing inventory challenges, and sometimes when a lead comes in for a vehicle that was just sold, the dealership fails to respond to that lead.
This doesn’t make sense from Venneri’s perspective because many consumers from the Customer Experience Trends Study said they were open to buying an alternative vehicle if their preferred model was out of stock. Consumers want transparency, and Digital Air Strike’s technology can be customized for each location, dealer group, or OEM. The communications are based on their rules in conjunction with their CRMs. For example, a car dealer can set a response to come from the Digital Air Strike tool within 30 minutes or two hours based on their preferences.
Digital Air Strike’s digital communication technology is fully integrated. It can reply to consumers with the information they need while also showing alternate vehicles or even pulling the entire inventory for a dealer group. So, the technology can nurture leads and automatically alert dealers when consumers look at their personalized micro-websites.
“No longer does it stop with getting a deposit on a vehicle,” says Venneri. “You’ve got to keep them engaged; you want to keep them bringing in their current vehicle for service, and also even lock that in for a trade-in… That’s why it’s more important than ever that [car dealers] get something like our tool that sits between the CRM and the DMS but is fully customizable to each dealer’s individual situation.”
70% of consumers, who participated in the Customer Experience Trends Study, pre-ordered a vehicle, but 20% said they didn’t get the information they needed from a dealership. Now, dealers need to engage with this new consumer group. Many deposits for pre-orders are refundable, and consumers might be placing deposits down with several dealerships. You don’t want to be the dealer that has to give a refund. Digital Air Strike’s CX technology nurtures these customers with different marketing messages. Car dealers can use this opportunity to start an F&I conversation as well.
With the high-level digital solutions, Digital Air Strike provides, it’s no wonder the company grew over 40% during COVID and now works with 7,700 businesses, including 5,000+ franchised dealerships. Venneri says that the company’s growth is a combination of a loyal customer base and valuable partnership development. Digital Air Strike is committed to improving the dealer experience and customer experience. The company has 149 technology integrations that fill in the gaps where consumers can potentially defect to other dealerships.
“Ultimately, [car dealers] are selling more, they’re making more profit per deal, and we holistically look at the dealership,” explains Venneri. “It’s not just sales; it’s also the service side; it’s F&I. How do we holistically make sure they are getting back to all consumers and doing well across their entire dealership?”
Click here to learn more about how Digital Air Strike can help your dealership enhance its digital communication technology.
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