The situation regarding COVID-19 is constantly changing, and it is altering the landscape of each facet of our lives. Dealerships are in a unique position as the act of shopping for a car is mostly still an in-person and onsite experience. However, things are rapidly evolving, and many governors around the country—including Georgia’s governor Kemp—are instituting shelter-in-place orders to keep individuals from potentially spreading COVID-19.
For car buyers, this can be a challenging situation as the after-sale process can require customers to have to visit other businesses and organizations for things like insurance, registration, and maintenance. So, as a dealer, how can you help your potential and current customers navigate the administrative details associated with buying a car?
Here are the steps you can guide your customers to take after purchasing a car from your dealership.
Booking an Online Appointment
How can clients get in touch with you during this time? Whether they call your dealership’s administrative professional, or view information on your website, make sure your directions for how they can get in touch with you are consistent. Encourage potential and current customers to schedule calls or even video meetings (if possible) with salespeople. Whether they are interested in purchasing a car, need advisement on a vehicle they already purchased, or require servicing recommendations, make it straightforward for them to reach out to you. Some dealers are even delivering cars to the homes of new buyers, so see how you can help customers maintain social distancing while also getting them what they need.
Help Them Find Car Insurance
Because of the impact of COVID-19, many insurance companies are allowing customers to make claims or request insurance digitally. Advise customers to check the apps of major insurers like Statefarm, Allstate, and Geico. Also, many insurers are offering financial assistance as well as waiving late fees and allowing car owners the opportunity to make payments on their coverage at a later date. For example, Progressive is not canceling coverage due to nonpayment through the beginning of May, and are offering billing leniency. You may also want to inform customers about more affordable insurance plans. Many insurance companies provide usage or mileage-based plans, which is helpful for those who are no longer driving to work.
eir website for accurate information.As of right now, most, if not all, DMVs in the United States have probably suspended all in-person activities as a result of the outbreak. Fortunately, most of these facilities likely have a process set in place that allows individuals to register a new vehicle still. New owners may be able to apply for registration by sending all documentation by mail to their County Tag Office. Also, if an individual already has a registration that is set to expire, remind them to check the state’s DMV website to see if the deadline has been extended. Each state and county may have different methods for handling these services, so be sure to direct your customers to their website for accurate information.
Spray-in Bedliner and Accessories Care for Truckers
Again, many businesses are closed, and this likely means technicians that handle spray-in bedliner services are unavailable. If this is the case, there are a few options you can offer to your customers:
- Provide them with information on how they can handle it themselves – There are a variety of products out there that allow car buyers to take on a DIY spray-in bedliner project. If you can recommend any products or know of some DIY instructions, feel free to pass it along.
- Put them in contact with companies – Some auto technicians may still be open and operating. Here is a list of some Metro Atlanta mechanic shops that may be able to handle this service, or offer helpful alternatives. If you are in another city, be sure to check places like Yelp or provide your own recommendations to customers.
Always remind customers to adhere to shelter-in-place guidelines and only visit businesses if they are following all precautions related to managing the COVID-19 outbreak.
Upfitting Services for Fleet Customers
For car buyers that are using vehicles for commercial use, upfitting is a critical next step. Again, much like with the spray-in bedliner services, some businesses may not be operating. However, some shops may still be open but are working with reduced staff. Look in your area, talk to your partners, and even look for recommendations online. From there, you can create a list of upfitters to provide to customers.
Provide Resources for Financial Assistance
Some of your customers may now be facing financial hardships due to losing employment. While each person’s situation may be unique, it’s helpful to have some steps for them regarding where they can go for assistance. Many automakers, lenders, and credit card companies are allowing car buyers to defer payments. So, if your dealership typically works with a particular lender, it is helpful to provide the appropriate contact information for customers to reach out about their unique circumstances.
Offering Next Steps and Advice is The Best Form of Customer Service Right Now
Going the extra mile to help your customers take the necessary next steps to get their vehicle, registered, serviced, or insured is something they will remember. Offering them guidance and helpful resources take the pressure off of their shoulders in a time of uncertainty. It builds trust and loyalty with your customers and could turn them into long-term supporters who come to you when they are ready to receive maintenance or purchase a new vehicle. However, ultimately, you are providing assistance at a time that is tough for many Americans, and that is the best reason to lend a helping hand during this season.
Did you enjoy this article from Chanell Turner? Read other articles from her here.
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This has been a JBF Business Media production.