Sales and service processes have been modified and fine-tuned as long as sales and services have existed. Making a product or service accessible and appealing is what drives sales. These processes include many areas where repetition comes in to play and have been mostly managed manually. As technology has improved, the ability to automate repetitive elements of workflow processes has become easier. Take emailing internet customers for example. Most dealers use some form of automated internet process. A customer submits a lead and they immediately receive an auto-responder typically designed to let the user know that the dealership has received their request for information. The better auto-responders attempt to engage with that user by asking a question prompting personal contact with a salesperson or BDC Rep.
Email Automation takes over the mundane and repetitive task of writing a short email that usually answers the same questions from customers. When that salesperson or BDC agent is freed up, they can focus their energy on driving sales via phone or into the showroom. Good automation will take over a repetitive task. Great automation takes over a repetitive task and knows when to steer attention towards it or whether to rely on a Human intelligence for assistance. If you are looking to add automation to a workflow, you must first identify your repetitive tasks.
Even a small dealer can receive 10 to 30 internet leads over the course of one day. Consider what it would cost to employ a person to monitor the inbox for 12 to 15 hours a day and expect them to compose an individual and engaging response every time a lead comes in. That first response letting the customer know their form has been received doesn't have to be customized for every single customer. This is why the auto-responder has existed from the very first day a website could receive a form from a customer. The same goes for value building and re-engagement attempts. A dealer's value proposition stays the same for long periods of time, so it’s not necessary to compose lengthy emails explaining it to your potential customers. It can be written well once and set to go out to prospects at a key point. Automated emails improve upon internet lead workflow and simplify the process by automating repetitive tasks.
Now that the salesperson or BDC agent isn't expected to monitor and respond to every lead as it comes in, they can use their time engaging in email, phone and chat conversations with live customers. This is a step that has yet to be perfected via full automation. Customers don't like to talk to robots during their retail shopping journeys. The best automated Chat applications use canned response to gather contact information so a living person can engage with the customer personally.
Once you identify repetitive tasks, the next step is to define your goals using your current manual workflow as a benchmark. With email automation, the goal is customers visiting the dealership or engaging with salespeople or BDC agents via phone. It was easy to see the effect on showroom traffic automated emails produced versus ignoring internet leads altogether or having someone try to compose individual responses along the process. Ultimately you need to be able to justify how your sales goals will be achieved by automation and how you plan to measure them.
How do you decide that a workflow could benefit from automated elements? It’s simple. Examine your workflow and look for instances where people may be spending a lot of time doing or saying the same thing. Consider whether or not that person's time could be better spent performing more complex tasks; which is ultimately saving the dealership money. Finally look for a solution that will complement the task itself which will lead to more showroom traffic and lower funnel shoppers. It will allow the dealership to work with less manpower and still deliver products or services with the same or better quality.
Keep in mind that automation processes are not limited to lead responses. There is a plethora of repetitive tasks that exist in your dealership that can be automated and result in higher efficiency and performance – both in sales, service and dealership operations in general. This was a simple example of not only HOW automation has already been helping dealerships keep up with workloads in customer to sales communications but also WHY a dealership should be investigating all of the other roadblocks or stumbling stones that prevent them from performing repetitive tasks faster with accurate results thus freeing up even more time for a staff member to focus his or her attention elsewhere. Automation combined with human intelligence produces greater efficiency resulting in increased productivity and higher sales.