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How do customers see your dealership? How do you?

Filtering through hundreds of articles that address SEO, CSI, online ratings, and how to maximize social media marketing, sometimes I can't help but wonder if companies are actually paying attention to real customers and what those customers REALLY think. This incredible viral video that Dove produced has more than 60 million views and demonstrates the drastic difference between the way people view themselves and how others view them.

An FBI forensic artist first made drawings as people described their own features, then sketched the description as a stranger viewed them.  As you can see in the video, the differences are stunning.

Sure, we believe that live chat software or a live chat hosted service are one way to connect with your customers, but how well do you connect when they are in your showroom or on your service drive? Sure, you can get some measure of their thoughts and opinions online, but what about REAL organic ratings? You know, what are they telling their barbers and salon staff? What is the 'word on the street' about your store? Is it better…or worse…than how you view things?

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Tom LaPointe CarChat24  Interactive Media Manager / Industry Analyst

www.carchat24.com/ 24/7 Interactive Automotive Dealer Website LIVE CHAT Solutions Hosted or In-House Options – FREE web chat software 727-638-0195

Tom has an MBA in Marketing and is an automotive writer and author with more than 15 years experience in virtually every aspect of the retail auto industry. He began working with the internet building websites at Johns Hopkins University in the 90's, and has been a performance leader in nearly every dealer role, from sales and service, to web development and viral marketing.

Views: 309

Tags: Dove, SEO, beauty, live chat, online reviews, organic search, website

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Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 27, 2014 at 2:25pm

Here is Dove's SELFIE video follow up that is making its way across facebook - do we look at our businesses with the same critical eye as our own appearance? SHOULD WE?

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 9, 2014 at 7:56pm

Very true, brian, it's a crazy- general question, but I still think dealers and management NEED to ask it. And the answers from staff and customers are important. And I'm not talking about CSI questionnaires that dealers work to 'game' and customers use for extortion, but is the majority of the staff appropriately 'looked out for', and does the majority of the staff have a genuine commitment to a positive customer experience? In the era of acronym marketing (that you mention) brick and mortar service needs to ensure its positive reputation is etched in concrete, and not JUST focus on online ratings.

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 7, 2014 at 10:07am

I agree with all. Years back I worked at a large that was a CSI leader. One of the ways we ensured customers were taken care of was to ensure the staff was generally happy, as well. That was during the 'good times' - late 90's and early 2k years. Business was booming. Employee surveys were glowing, surely in no small part to great recognition, perks, and fair pay plans.

Fast forward a decade and that same (LUXURY) store has cycled through no less than 20 sales managers and countless sales and service staff members, while business has continued to decline - even as car sales have perked up.

Happy staff (helps) = Happy customers = More profit = Happy dealership owners / managers

But it seems when dealerships have to cut back, they hit the pay plan first, and it spirals down into a ball of fire.

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 7, 2014 at 8:58am

Mark, no apologies needed.  The real challenge is then how to unify the visions of all three to the betterment of the dealership. 

Comment by Dr. Mark Bear on January 7, 2014 at 3:41am

Hi Tom,

My apologies and thanks for clarifying for me. You are spot on regarding your point though, especially regarding the comparison of the dealer, customer, and employee respective perspectives. Thanks! 

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 6, 2014 at 8:05am

Mark, I was referencing the owner of the business.  I was aware there are studies out there but do not know their names.  I think it interesting to see and compare the dealer's picture along with the employee's AND the customer's. 

Comment by Dr. Mark Bear on January 5, 2014 at 11:31pm

Tom, 

You wrote the following, and I am only seeking some clarification here: 

"If the owner described your business, and then an employee describes it, will it match up as well?" 

When you reference the owner, are you referencing the owner of the dealership? If so, actually there is an excellent measurement that does precisely this: It is called the Dennison Survey. Or, are you referencing the owner or purchaser of the vehicle, sans the customer? Thanks in advance for the clarity. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on January 5, 2014 at 5:52am

Loved the video and the questions you ask Tom.  Thank you!

It would be interesting to have an artist create a picture or multiple pictures of how we see ourselves in business and then how our customers see us, wouldn't it?  But if you can do that in your mind alone, it would be insightful.  If the owner described your business, and then an employee describes it, will it match up as well? 

Comment by Rieka Juwita on January 5, 2014 at 5:39am

We still use conventional way - use website and social media

Comment by Ralph Paglia on January 5, 2014 at 5:05am

This is fascinating when you consider how similar it is to the way a dealer's reputation is created more by what other people say than what the dealer says about it.

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