You might not be in the technology business, but if you serve customers, you're competing with the convenient, personalized customer experiences offered by conglomerates like Amazon and Apple. Forbes calls this the Amazon effect, and it has a surprising influence on how prospective customers view your auto business.
When customers interact with online retailers like Amazon — and that was at least 82% of U.S. households in 2019, per Digital Commerce 360 — their interactions set the bar for their experiences with other brands. And that bar is high: Digital service, personalization, and convenience are the hallmarks of a positive customer experience, according to McKinsey.
How can your auto business meet these high expectations when you're focused on providing the best service at the fastest speed and the lowest cost? It's about making every point of customer contact frictionless — especially the first.
Here are three important reasons to update your customer experience with an appointment manager.
1. Make a good first impression.
Customers are impatient. Mobile users are 123% more likely to leave a webpage when the load time jumps from one second to 10 seconds, Google reports.
Prospective customers want to book appointments with your auto business quickly and easily — and often without having to talk to a human at all. Historically, auto businesses have required customers to call for an appointment. That means finding a convenient time while the business is open, waiting for a busy owner or staff member to get out from under the hood and over to the phone, and comparing schedules to book an appointment. The fact is: the process is putting too many steps between customers and what they want, which is a quick, efficient way to schedule an appointment, regardless of whether the business is open.
An appointment manager streamlines the booking process. It lets customers book appointments on their own time (even after hours), tell your staff about their service needs (that "ca-lunk" happening when the car hits 40mph), and check in when they arrive for their appointment — all from their smartphone. Considering that 81% of U.S. consumers own a smartphone, the Pew Research Center reports, mobile-friendly appointment technology can help your auto business make a good first impression and build a rapport for future customer interactions.
2. Build trust by staying organized.
Few customers relish the opportunity to take their vehicle to the auto shop. More often than not, it's an inconvenience. Worst-case scenario: It's a negative experience. Sixty-three percent of American drivers polled by AAA said that they don't trust car repair shops because of negative experiences.
What if you could change this perception by making the experience more organized and convenient?
Using appointment technology to streamline the customer experience can go a long way toward building relationships and trust with your customers. When you meet or exceed a customer's expectations for convenience, you earn the chance to serve them again.
Help your business and your customers stay organized with:
- Online appointment booking
- Interactive calendars
- Customer histories and preferences
- Live customer chat
- Text message appointment reminders
When you can directly tie scheduling to a customer account with details such as their vehicle type, inspection expirations, recent service history, and appointment notes, you're proving that you're invested in the customer's best interest over the long haul. Every interaction they have matters — and lives on in their unique profile.
3. Earn loyalty by being flexible.
These days, your customers probably have bigger things to worry about than vehicle maintenance. The more you can flex to make your customers' lives easier, the better — especially when they're making, rescheduling, or canceling appointments.
Appointment technology is more than an exercise in business technology management. It's a way to ensure that your customers engage with your services on their terms. It helps customers quickly explore your website, create an appointment, and reschedule or cancel when they need to; they don't need to wait for a customer service representative or contact you during business hours. And when they cancel, the appointment frees up immediately for another customer to book, limiting your down time.
When you adopt a seamless, mobile-friendly appointment manager, you're showing your customers that you value their time and that you'll help them get what they need when they need it. And you're making business run smoother for you and your team.
Forging a positive customer experience.
When choosing where to get their vehicles worked on, consumers look for a seamless digital experience, exemplary customer service, and reliable service at competitive prices. To stand out as the best business for their needs, you can enhance your customers' digital experience with an appointment manager that makes it easy to create, manage, and reschedule appointments — or you risk losing customers to auto businesses that do.