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Does Your Web Site Let Customers Communicate


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Does Your Web Site Let Customers Communicate

  1. 1. Introducing Ralph Paglia Part 2 on the Dot Com Insider. Editor's Corner Ralph Paglia currently serves a CRM Program Consultant assigned to work with major Car Companies Forum in North America. In this capacity, Ralph draws upon over 20 years of experience working in On The Road Industry Insider Automotive Retail and then working with hundreds of dealers during consulting engagements where his mission is to find ways to use the Internet and Information Technology to sell more cars and make more With Ralph Events Calendar Resources money. by Head to Head Ralph Paglia Does Your Web Site Let Customers Communicate With You? By Ralph Paglia As an Internet Sales Manager, you have a great opportunity to impact the marketing results for every department in the dealership. We have been working with a group in Kansas City whose Acura dealership came to us with a desire to improve their online Service Scheduling process that is offered to customers within their web site… The results are that they now get 3 to 5 Service Appointments per day. By working with the ISM, we showed him how to use the form editing application within the dealership's web site utilities to customize their online service scheduling so that it reflected their shop's policies. As a result, the Service Manager is now a big fan of the Internet Dept. and the Service Dept. now picks up a percentage of the web site's monthly cost. If you would like to see their site and the customized online service scheduling forms, go to: We have also worked with Jay Wolfe Acura's management team to customize their other web site forms so that they better reflect the way customers want to speak to the dealer at that point in time. For example, consider the Trade-In portion of an "I'm Interested" online form… The customer has picked a car from your inventory, and is interested in finding out what kind of deal you can offer. What do most dealership web site's do? The form will ask that customer all sorts of details about their trade-in. In many ways, it is almost humorous that some dealers ask the customer for more information about their trade-ins with their online forms than what they put in the description listings of their inventory being displayed online! Anybody who has sold cars knows that there is a time to talk about the customer's trade-in, but it is not when you first greet the customer. In reality, all we really want to know, in the beginning of the lead management process, is IF the customer is going to have a trade- in. So, why do we ask for all the details on the customer's trade-in as part of our first online interaction with the customer? Because when the people who designed those forms put all those hours of work into coming up with all the fields that dealers would want to see, they thought it would be a great idea to ask for all the customer's trade-in information… Isn't it great to show a dealer that your online form asks the customer when was the last time they had their trade-in serviced? But, these are web developers who have never sold cars. (1 of 5) [4/19/2003 7:36:28 PM]
  2. 2. Introducing Ralph Paglia Part 2 on the Dot Com Insider. That's why you should always make sure that whoever is supplying your dealership with a web site, provides you with an easy to use back end utility that allows you to customize the site as often as you wish, including the forms that customers fill out. Our recommended approach to the customer's trade-in, when they have either picked a car from inventory, or have configured a vehicle, is to have the form simply ask: Will You Be Trading In A Vehicle? Then, a drop down window with these choices: q Yes q No q Maybe, Depends on How Much You'll Give Me q Old <Make>'s Never Die, They Just Get Handed Down In My Family! For dealers with the right web site, they can go into their back end utilities and pull the Lead Forms Tracking Report which will show how many times their customers are starting a form, compared to how many actually completed the form and clicked on the "Submit" button… We see many stores where over 90% of their web site forms are being started, but the customer abandons them before they are finished and never submit the form. By going through your forms editing application, and customizing your forms to make them fun for the customer, while reflecting what they REALLY want to say, you can double the volume of leads being produced by your web site next month. Keep in mind, that the leads that come in from a dealer's web site will typically close at double the rate of leads from most 3rd Party buying services. So, when you can invest a little time and training money on something that increases high closing ratio leads, the return on investment becomes very appealing. More importantly, the ROTI (Return On Time Invested) is even greater because you are increasing leads that close at a higher ratio, which means you are spending less time on leads that don't sell. For examples of customized forms, especially "I'm Interested", "2nd Chance Finance", "Insider Information Registration" and "Quick Quotes", check out the following dealer web sites: You can also use your forms creation and editing tool within your web site to create new marketing campaigns that will help differentiate your dealership from the competition. For example, at Jay Wolfe Acura we created the "Insider Information Account Registration" form. It is accessible from within the "Information" drop-down menu on their home page… The screen shot below is hyperlinked to the actual site: (2 of 5) [4/19/2003 7:36:28 PM]
  3. 3. Introducing Ralph Paglia Part 2 on the Dot Com Insider. The image of the form is shown below, and it is hyperlinked to the real form, so you can get a closer look at the real thing. The "Insider Information Account Registration" form opens up looking like this: (3 of 5) [4/19/2003 7:36:28 PM]
  4. 4. Introducing Ralph Paglia Part 2 on the Dot Com Insider. At the bottom of the form, there is a disclaimer and notice that states: "Jay Wolfe Acura will provide registered accounts with periodic information that may or may not have been cleared by Acura for release to the public... By submitting this form, the registrant agrees to keep all information provided confidential and will not share it with the news media or any other parties who are not properly registered with the Jay Wolfe "Insider Information" Program." We have found that making your online forms fun, using humor and the way customers actually talk in their drop-downs and checklists, will get you an increased forms completion rate… For example: So far, nobody has chosen (except for me) the "Flyers placed under my windshield wipers" or "Rumor Mill" option, but at least it shows the customer we have a sense of humor… Jay Wolfe Acura uses the email list generated by this form to supply an "Insider Information" broadcast email that keeps their registered enthusiasts informed about events and activities related to the Acura ownership experience. Your dealership's web site can be a key part of a Web Brand Management Strategy that connects your customer's lifestyle with products and services offered by you and your co-workers. Many of the car companies are getting into "Customer Lifestyle Management" because it is a proven concept that generates increased customer loyalty and repeat business. Using your web site's customization utilities, and a good CRM tool with targeted email campaign capabilities, you can evolve your Internet Sales Department into a Customer Relationship Center that will drive business to Sales, Parts and Service while becoming a key contact point between customers and your dealership. Happy selling, and when thinking about how you respond to leads, remember this: (4 of 5) [4/19/2003 7:36:28 PM]
  5. 5. Introducing Ralph Paglia Part 2 on the Dot Com Insider. "What you send the potential buyer is as important as when you send it" Ralph Paglia CRM Process Consultant Cell: 505-301-6369 (5 of 5) [4/19/2003 7:36:28 PM]