Selling a car is not an easy task. Customers have many decisions to make and many factors to weigh, not to mention all the style and color options. The price, of course, is also a major potential barrier to achieving a sell, as for most customers, buying a car is one of the highest value personal investments they can possibly make. This results in a long sales cycle, with many potential deal-breakers scattered along the way.
The internet plays an interesting role in this process. Cars are not usually sold online, but the web is where most customers actually start their search. For Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, this means that lots of different potential customers browse through their websites day by day, but only a small fraction of them make it to the end of the funnel: the car dealership. They wanted to provide a more informative and helpful initial contact in order to hold on to that initial interest and drive quality online leads to the showrooms, to eventually be able to close successful deals.
The company also understood that they can only achieve this by delivering an effective, customized customer experience in today’s omnichannel environment. So the question was: how would they manage to offer web visitors a more personalized, interactive first approach as opposed to the brochure-like, passive experience the web had previously offered?
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decided to implement Whisbi Conversational Marketing platform, our flagship Software as a Service solution. This has not only provided them with the most advanced, integrated way to enrich the interaction between sales representatives and potential customers across channels, but it also included powerful tracking and lead nurturing functions to help them better qualify leads and optimize lead generation.
How does it work?
Previously, visitors exploring cars on Fiat’s websites only had the option to call a simple hotline number if they had a quick question or wanted to know more about offers. They may have called the number, talked to the sales rep as usual; nothing more, nothing less. With Whisbi, this has changed in a disruptive way.
Now, whenever potential customers go to the Fiat brands’ product pages (i.e. those of Fiat, Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Fiat Professional and Jeep), they have the opportunity to conveniently reach out to sales representatives any time they have a quick question about the cars and offers. This is encouraged by a well visible, floating call-to-action button that invites the visitor to contact the company at any moment, being accessible but non-intrusive. The button is always available - 24/7. This way the customer can either book test drives with the help of our automated lead capture solution or will be redirected to the sales team if the customer prefers personal assistance.
Once the lead capture solution filters and qualifies the lead for the sales team, the potential customer can decide to be connected via real time messaging or phone.. In the background, Whisbi also registers this person as a Lead in its tracking tool called the Whisbi Deck, recording which online source the person was originally coming from.
Fig. 1 - Simulation of Fiat experience
In either case, the Whisbi experience starts automatically, in less than 5 seconds, synchronizing the inbound or outbound phone call with an interactive online experience in real time. Thanks to our patented technology, the Fiat sales representatives became able to:
• Present the cars and subtle details, show special offers or suggest models through co-browsing, leveraging the potential of an attractive visual presentation in real time while talking with the lead on the phone. For example, during the call, potential customers have received a personalized offer in pdf, detailing the price and proposed discount of the selected model, a date for a test drive or appointment at the nearest dealership (georeferenced and tailored to the customer’s location) and a product brochure. This helped Fiat allay potential early concerns and secure appointments in real time, avoiding the risk of losing valuable leads in the communication pipeline.
• Show the face of the sales representative via live video broadcasting, which has made the first contact a lot more trustworthy and humanized, building rapport to prepare a future face-to-face appointment at the actual dealerships.
• Track the whole interaction, from click to phone call to conversion (in this case, an appointment booked), thanks to the Whisbi Deck, our powerful analytics and reporting tool. This way, Fiat has managed to get a better overview on where quality leads were coming from (e.g. which specific display, Google AdWords, Facebook or email marketing campaign etc.) and how the sales representatives were performing in terms of driving them to the showrooms.
On the whole, Fiat has been a pioneer in realizing a ‘virtual car dealership’ concept, where the customer receives a surprisingly rich, impactful first experience when reaching out to the company over the phone, bringing the interaction closer to that of physical showrooms. Thanks to their new ability to provide the potential customer with a truly personalized offer through remote channels in real time and build enhanced engagement and trust, Fiat has managed to drive more leads to the dealerships, improving their pre-sales process in a vertical where the road leading to sales has traditionally been a long and bumpy one.
On top of this, they have also learned what sources and campaigns drive more quality leads, helping them optimize the ROI of lead generation and evaluate the performance of sales representatives.