Posted on : 07-02-2011 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Customer Service
I decided this week it was time to get a new car for my wife. We have had the same Volvo for 9 years and it has served us well, but with upcoming inspection which would cost a lot, it was time to think of a new car. We have done well with a station wagon and wanted to find something similar. I debated a Volvo, but I wish they were still owned by Ford. In reviewing the current offerings I decided it would be between a Toyota Venza or Audi A4 Avant. I think both are nice cars with many features. So I decided to contact a few dealers. Audi of Willow Grove shocked me when Brett Pomerantz, their Internet Sales Manager responded to my email on a Sunday. As many of you are aware, I believe a key part to service is speed of response. We had a nice dialogue, even though the basic part of the response was a team member of his would contact me Monday. We even discussed social media and car dealers. So on Sunday I contacted 8 dealers and all sent auto responders with follow up calls today. The funny thing about the calls, none recognized my preference is email, and no I do not want to come into the dealer if I can avoid it! Old school sales techniques do not always work. Contact me the way I prefer to be contacted. My wife stopped by the dealer at lunch today, test drove the car and they assessed the trade. I have yet to visit the dealer and we have a signed purchase order. The sales manager called me with the numbers, and within a few minutes of conversation we had a deal. I would bet it was inexpensive sale for them as well. Of course I had numbers I was comfortable with prior to reaching out, so I do think the internet helps with the overall experience. I still doubt we would be at this stage if I did not build a connection to Brett last night with a few email exchanged. Simply put he earned trust which helped the dealer close the deal (even though he was away at a conference today).
This is not why I am writing this post, although it does fit in what I look for in Customer Service and sales. Last night I twittered out a question about what car I should get. After doing so I had a number of car dealer accounts follow me. This is a great way to possibly drum up sales, but then I looked at their feeds. They basically twittered out info on the cars and deals. They are really missing the boat. Imagine if they had sales people out here? Just like the speed of Brett’s email shocked me, they could have engaged in conversation. With the right speed and approach they could have easily won me over. It is not saying come buy from me, or following someone that matters. They could easily engage in a helpful dialogue regarding the buying experience or even say something like ‘let me know if you need any help with the car buying process.’ The key is this comes better from actual people not the generic dealer twitter account.
Have you seen a car dealer take this approach? I think this would be a good experience but other may disagree. I look forward to your comments.