Consumer perception is YOUR reality


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This is the presentation Kristen Judd, President and C0-Founder of 3 Birds Marketing, gave at the 11th Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas in October 2011. Judd provides actionable tips for ways automobile dealers can use their online presence to dispel negative perceptions about dealership Service Departments.

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  • If you disregard consumer perceptions about dealership Service Departments in general or YOUR dealership’s Service Department in particular, you do so at your own peril.This is not that different from eyewitness testimony in court cases. Juries find the testimony of eyewitnesses especially compelling, but it is notoriously unreliable. Nevertheless, dismissing it’s value out of hand without working to overcome it, would be foolish.As they say, the first step is admitting that you have a problem.Right or wrong. You must start from a place of accepting the perception as real and well founded in the mind of the perception holder and then work to overcome it.
  • There is a widely held perception that Service Departments at automobile dealerships routinely pressure or “upsell” customers into unnecessary maintenance or repair workEVEN THOUGH the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study found that: only 7% of service customers overall responded that their dealer tried to sell them service work that they perceived to be unnecessary.
  • 65% did online research to find the cheapest price53% searched to find info about promotions and discounts
  • So many dealership websites are inordinately weighted toward sales as opposed to service and they make it difficult for customers who have purchased vehicles to come back to the site for their service needs.
  • This Honda dealer in a state located in the southwest has MANY banners in the rotating banner box on the home page, 16 to be exact, but not a single one of them relate to service
  • These searches were as random as can be – “Brand + dealer + state” Dealer websites that marginalize the Service Department are a dime a dozen
  • Your website has all of the bells and whistles, configurators, builder, widgets, lead generation forms and other tools needed to sell new and used cars, but what happens once that customer has bought a car from you and comes back to your website for a service need?If your website is disproportionately weighted in favor sales over service, what kind of a message does that send to customers who have purchased vehicles from your dealership?
  • You’re probably used to seeing the sales funnel. Most vendor who come to pitch you on a product or a solution show the traditional sales funnel.It isn’t just a linear push toward the sale at all costs anymore. Service Department knows this already. It’s about a relationship of trust and authority that is solidified over time.
  • According to the same 2010 Google/Compete PTSA Study:30% of consumers didn’t know they could schedule service appointments online19% of consumers didn’t know where to schedule service appointments online
  • Unlike traditional advertising with it’s limitations related to time and cost, the digital forum is ideal for sharing content and going into greater detail
  • Where you can’t compete on price, explain why and why price shouldn’t be the only consideration
  • Chances are that you do all kinds of things for your service customers that go way above and beyond what independent shops and repair chains do, you just might not be doing a very good job of making your customers aware of this and promoting it.The confines of traditional advertising don’t always lend themselves to these types of service branding messages, but the digital and online channels are ideal places to flesh these points out into the type of “Why Service Here” message that can fall by the wayside in the busy hustle and bustle of dealership life.
  • How do you get the word out about this?Blog -- Write (or have written for you), blog posts about this subjectNewsletter or email campaigns – If you send out a newsletter to your customers you can include an article or a message from the Service Director about this. If you send out service emails campaigns with service specials or coupon, also use this as an opportunity to educate your customers.
  • Consumer reviews are trusted 12x more than information from manufacturers (eMarketer Feb 2010)70% of consumers trust reviews from users who are unknown to them (Econsultancy July 2009)73% of car shoppers read dealership reviews (Yahoo! Cobalt Dealer E-Business Study 2008)21% of car buyers indicated they changed their dealership selection based on information they read in online reviews (Yahoo! Cobalt study)
  • You work hard. You try to do your best by your customers and you train your staff to do the same thing. Some days it is easier than other. And it is easier with some customers than others. No one likes to be criticized. It can be uncomfortable, even painful to receive negative feedback about your business from a customer. You must listen to it, actively look for it and truly consider it.
  • Free tools are available Google AlertsBoardtracker.comSocial MentionMany moreListen on social media sitesFriendFeed
  • Consumer perception is YOUR reality

    1. 1. Consumer Perceptionis YOUR Reality<br />How to use online channels to overcome consumers’ negative perceptions about dealership service departments<br />
    2. 2. About 3 Birds<br />3 Birds’ Mission: <br />To help businesses keep the bird in the hand and use it toattract the two in the bush.<br />A full service, content and data driven agency poweredby our integrated multi-channel marketing platform<br />
    3. 3. I know about negative perceptions<br />15 years as a criminal defense attorney<br />
    4. 4. Perception vs. reality.Does it even matter?<br />
    5. 5. Common consumer perceptions aboutdealership service departments in general<br />The work will be more expensive<br />As compared to independent shops or national repair chains<br />Or due to “upselling” of unnecessary work<br />The experience will be less convenient<br />
    6. 6. Independent shops preferred for pricedealerships favored for knowledge & expertise<br />2010 Google/Compete PTSA Study<br />
    7. 7. Acknowledging the elephant in the room<br />Okay. Now how do we let consumers know that it’s not that way in our Service Department?<br />
    8. 8. Go where the customers are<br />55%<br />33%<br />of consumers with automotive service needs use the internet to research service<br />of consumers with automotive service needs searched online to find service locations close to where they live<br />2010 Google/Compete PTSA Study<br />
    9. 9. Start with your website<br />
    10. 10. It’s not just domestic brand dealers<br />
    11. 11. Highline brand dealers are guilty too<br />
    12. 12. Dating vs. marriage<br />
    13. 13. Don’t blow your chance to create lifetime customers<br />
    14. 14. Make service tools and information easily accessible <br />Your website should make it easy to:<br />Schedule service appointments<br />Find current service specials and coupons<br />Find service related information about their model<br />Ask service questions, get advice or find tips<br />
    15. 15. Don’t stop there<br />Go beyond the basics<br />Take the bull by the horns<br />Educate and show how your dealership is different by using:<br />Website<br />Newsletters/Email<br />Social<br />Review Sites<br />Blog<br />
    16. 16. Transparency in service pricing<br />If you beat the independent shops and national chains on some services, openly promote that by showing price comparisons for those services<br />Are you able to do a price match guarantee on specified services or repairs?<br />
    17. 17. Consumer education<br />Explain the value proposition:<br />Specialized OEM trained/certified technicians<br />Ongoing training programs by manufacturer for service staff<br />Most current and in-depth knowledge of vehicle enhancements and repair techniques<br />Extensive inventory of factory parts in-stock<br />Added value accounts for the added cost<br />It doesn’t pay to be penny-wise, pound-foolish<br />
    18. 18. Convenience and amenities<br />What do you do to make service easier and more pleasant for your customers?<br />Shuttle service<br />Close to public transportation<br />Proximity to shopping<br />Complementary rental cars<br />Picking up/dropping off vehicles at home or work<br />Extended service hours<br />Early/late/weekend drop off options<br />Complementary car wash with service<br />Comfortable service waiting area<br />Wi-Fi and work stations<br />Refreshments and snacks<br />Tire rotations included with tire purchases<br />Movie tickets<br />Play area for kids<br />Little things go a long way with customers<br />
    19. 19. Actionable ideas<br />Enhance the service portion of your website or maintain a separate service website<br />With service tips and FAQ<br />Information about what scheduled maintenance entails<br />Create a service blog<br />Send an email newsletter or service emails with service information and specials<br />Share service related information on social media sites<br />Tweet and post service tips <br />Create how to videos<br />Participate in forums and Q and A sites<br />Spotlight the service staff<br />Profile the people who keep customers’ cars in top condition<br />Give them a voice as helpful experts<br />
    20. 20. Negative perceptions about YOUR dealership<br />Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can kill your bottom line<br />
    21. 21. Resist the urge to bury your head in the sand<br />Actively look and listen<br />Google yourself<br />Go to review sites<br />Ask the hard questions<br />Do we have a perception problem?<br />Do we have a process problem?<br />
    22. 22. Fix process problems<br />
    23. 23. Consistently monitor your dealership’sonline reputation <br />
    24. 24. Respond promptly and openly<br />Tips for responding to negative comments and reviews:<br />Don’t get into a public “he said, she said” debate online<br />Apologize that the experience was less than satisfactory<br />Try to move the conversation offline<br />Where appropriate, acknowledge that you blew it<br />
    25. 25. Say Thank You<br />Don’t get so focused on managing the negative that you forget to appreciate the happy customers who take the time to share positive experiences<br />
    26. 26. Thank You <br />Me: Kristen Judd<br />My company: 3 Birds MarketingBooth #: 1209<br />Website:<br />Blog:<br />3 Birds Twitter: @3birdsmarketing<br />My Twitter: @kwjudd<br />3 Birds Facebook:<br />LinkedIn:<br />