Automakers are on a quest to revamp the digital customer experience for car buyers, who spend 60% of their time online, and over three hours in the dealership.
Car buying behaviour has evolved, requiring automakers to rethink their brand engagement and support their dealerships by reaching online car buyers as soon as possible. Conversational marketing is transforming the customer experience online and creating a pipeline of leads for dealerships, improving online (website) and offline (dealer) operational efficiency, and driving up both sales and customer satisfaction.
The leading carmaker faced the challenge of increasing test drive appointments through their website. Despite offering car configurators, deal-building tools and a host of information, the Toyota website didn’t see the expected growth in test drive bookings. The automaker employed a conversational marketing strategy to create a dynamic engagement experience for website visitors that increased test drive appointments – with the same information produced to educate leads and existing sales resources.
The conversational sales platform had three components that made the path from website to dealership friction-free and seamless:
- A lead-qualifying chatbot
- Real-time chat
- Phone conversation with sales experts, including a click-to-call option
Automotive customers are looking online for answers rather than going to their local dealerships. But they also want to find information quickly – an FAQ or resources section, although helpful, cannot start a dialogue with leads or answer the specific queries they have about a car model quickly.
The lead capture software qualified leads, and guided them in a customized manner, answering their questions or connecting them to a sales representative. As time is also the ultimate luxury for automotive customers, they also appreciated the ability to talk to a Toyota sales agent directly from the website or schedule a call back at a time convenient to them.
This personalized experience, caring attitude and efficient information-sharing demonstrated by Toyota resulted in 413 test drives a month, with 53% of all booked test drives coming through the conversational sales platform, and a customer satisfaction rate of 95%.
In today’s challenging car market, automotive brands are leveraging digital technology to innovate the customer experience. One area of competition for carmakers is capturing the attention of new car buyers. When they first begin their search, six out of ten new car buyers are open to considering multiple vehicle options. Hyundai sought to show the new cars on their website to buyers in an interactive and engaging way, with the aim to catch buyer’s attention online early on during their vehicle consideration phase.
The automaker embedded the one-to-many live video chat component of conversational marketing. Hyundai temporarily converted a small space in one of their dealerships into a showroom with two presenters broadcasting live from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday. With just a tablet, they were ready to showcase the new Hyundai model to a vast online audience.
An automated message popped up to redirect viewers to a form where they could book a test drive at their nearest dealership, serving as a lead generation tool for dealerships.
Over nine months of implementing one-to-many live video chat, Hyundai’s new car had been seen by more than a million viewers. Of these, 14% watched the broadcast for over three minutes, and 3% of these engaged viewers clicked on the lead capture feature and were redirected to book test drives after being qualified with a few simple questions. Hyundai pre-qualified 630 leads each month.
The live broadcast was also sufficiently engaging, as evidenced by the high number of ‘likes’ and a customer satisfaction rating of 9.3 out of ten. Viewers were also motivated to ask presenters questions, with eight queries posed every 30 minutes.
Citroën Spain implemented conversational marketing software to improve their website’s engagement quotient and dial up conversation rates for the C3 model. Most people will stay on a website for less than 15 seconds. If personal engagement begins the moment visitors land on the site, lead qualification can occur efficiently and leads can be guided to the next logical step seamlessly.
Citroën embedded one-to-one and one-to-many solutions into their website to activate interactions the moment visitors arrived at the website, and generated 1,100 qualified pre-sales leads, 55% of whom went on to become customers.
In the one-to-one session with agents, visitors connected with a human agent via messaging, voice or video chat. Conversations on product configurations with a knowledgeable expert was crucial in persuading leads to book a C3 test drive at their local dealership. The one-to-one experience included co-browsing to share the specific information leads wanted, and file sharing was instrumental in giving them a good idea about the car quickly and effortlessly.
The one-to-many live broadcast sessions were interactive, allowing participants to join sessions and ask agents questions about the C3 in real-time. They were also prompted to book a test drive appointment.
Citroën Spain has been using the Whisbi conversational marketing platform since 2016, and seen customer satisfaction levels jump to 97%.
Skoda UK brought the live tour experience to digital customers, allowing them to view and learn about vehicles in the brand’s line-up, as well as interact with company representatives. From implementing a conversational sales platform for Kodiaq, Skoda UK expanded their use of the software to other new cars before they reach retailers, the goal being to effectively engage buyers at the early stages of the purchase process and motivate them to book test drives.
The Skoda Live Tour was a big success, with test drive requests increasing steadily since launch, and 10% of test drives converting to sales. The tour’s hosts called dealerships to inform them about leads and ensured that every potential customer was contacted within an hour.
As no other automaker, at the time, had a digital showroom and a lead generation strategy linking the online and offline brand, the carmaker was able to create differentiation and capture car buyer interest sooner than competitors, which ultimately culminated into sales and a 95% customer satisfaction rating. So far, Skoda has completed 200 live tours!
Automakers exploring digital transformation technology should strongly consider a conversational marketing platform that is easy to implement, backed by exceptional support, and does not require any additional resources to deliver top results.