How can dealers build trust with customers when so much of the vehicle shopping process has moved online?
Trust has always been a hallmark of successful customer relationships. If people are going to part with their hard-earned cash for a big-ticket item, they want to know it will work and they want to know the seller will back up their product with any needed support.
Unfortunately, in many ways, trust is eroding throughout the world. According to the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in government fell to 52 percent from 65 percent in just two years from 2020 to 2022. Trust in media fell to 50 percent from 56 percent.
There is good news for the auto industry, however. Nearly 66 percent of respondents trust the auto industry. This is up by 4 percentage points from 2021.
Trust has never been more important to a dealer than it is today. The global chip shortage has made new-vehicle inventory harder to come by, forcing more dealers to sell more older model used vehicles. Customers want to know that these suddenly more expensive used vehicles are going to provide value.
How can dealers build trust with customers when so much of the vehicle shopping process has moved online? Many technology companies are stepping up to help dealers meet this challenge. Two Rapid Recon industry allies, AutoAp Inc. and Authenticom, as well as Rapid Recon and our competitors, have all developed technologies that help build trust, stronger customer relationships, and long-term sales.
Authenticom, for example, is helping dealership customers choose how their personal data is used— or is not used. ContactVia is a software solution that allows automotive retailers to give their customers a choice in how they hear from the dealership and gives consumers complete visibility into how their information is shared with other service providers. This is an important step in helping dealers work with customers to securely manage their personal information. Ultimately, it helps build a stronger customer relationship by building trust.Recall Services
AutoAp provides automated safety recall services to dealers to help them avoid buying and selling vehicles with open safety recalls. This increases warranty reimbursement revenue, decreases customer risk, and saves dealers time and money, while building trust at every touch point. With 20 to 25 percent of vehicles on the road having one or more open safety recalls, dealers can unknowingly buy and sell vehicles with unrepaired open recalls. This is due to the errors and delays in the safety recall ecosystem. AutoAp's focus on quality and trust helps dealers reduce their potential liability as a result of their industry-leading advanced processing.
Another way dealers build trust with their customers is by using AutoAp to process sold vehicles to identify those with open recalls. This provides outreach opportunities for dealers to bring back lost customers for no-charge repairs. It is another way dealers can leverage technology to create a relationship-building touch point and build customer relationships.
The vehicle reconditioning industry has had a similar "aha" moment. The software provided to auto dealers started as an internal communication platform to improve reconditioning processes, gets vehicles to the sales lot faster, and saves dealers money. Today, it's evolving into a potentially important sales tool.
If consumers want to be comfortable with the purchase of a 5- to 7-year-old vehicle, they want to know exactly what they are getting. The vehicle reconditioning report contains valuable information that can significantly raise a customer's comfort level, building trust in the vehicle and dealer alike. Did the exterior have body work done? Were there blemishes in the interior that were fixed? How much life did the brakes have left?
Sharing this information is like getting a home inspection during a real estate transaction. How old is the roof? Are there loose floorboards? Any signs of animals in the attic? A home buyer wants to know these things. It's no different for a car buyer. In fact, recent research by our certified business partner iPacket found the reconditioning report was among the three most important information resources during the sales process.
The reconditioning process helps add value to used vehicles by making them mechanically fit and cosmetically appealing. Sharing the reconditioning report provides tangible evidence that the vehicle is worth the money the consumer is investing.
Dealerships that embrace trust-building online technologies such as reconditioning reports, personal privacy software and recall software, will be the ones who continue to build long-term customer relationships. Ultimately, these technology tools will differentiate who wins and loses in the coming years.
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