How Car Dealerships Can Use Messaging Apps to Support Their Customer Communication Efficiently and Professionally
Many car dealerships and car shops offer customer information digitally – but their service is often still very analog. WhatsApp offers many advantages for car dealerships, many of them are already doing it! We’ll show you how your car dealership can successfully use WhatsApp and other messaging apps in a data secure manner.
In the article you will find out:
- How car dealerships can use messaging apps
- Why car dealerships should use WhatsApp & co
- Use cases, how car dealerships can use messaging apps
- Who is “Lucky” – the free car dealership chatbot?
- How do you increase the number of users for your car dealership WhatsApp service
- Your professional solution: the Messenger Communication Platform
Many car dealership employees already use WhatsApp & Co. for their customer communication. The problem: You are using WhatsApp on your private phone and thus violating the GDPR as well as WhatsApp’s commerce policies. Another problem for the business itself is that when employees leave, they take the customer data with them. To avoid these issues, your car dealership should use a third-party provider like MessengerPeople. Why? Because our solution is data protection complaint, we officially work with WhatsApp and the data is stored centrally on a server in Europe etc. You can read more about data protection in our article GDPR and WhatsApp? Am I allowed to use this for my customer service at all?.
1. Higher customer satisfaction
Messaging app customer service is fast, innovative, and leads to smoother customer experiences. By using messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Apple Business Chat (counterpart of iMessage), you can increase customer satisfaction. The Washington Post has shown that customer service via messaging apps results in 25% higher customer satisfaction than over email.
2. More attention
Messaging apps are used for real-time dialogues with multimedia support. Documents, videos, photos, voice messages, etc. can be sent in just seconds. Additionally, WhatsApp messages appear on the user’s lock screen, allowing you to capture your user’s attention.
3. Lower costs
Automation processes with easy to build chatbots can save you resources. For example, if you set up a chatbot in First Level Support to pre-qualify customers’ requests, your resources can be invested in better second-level support. Your employees can spend more time handling complicated requests with a personal touch.
4. Better reachability
Communication via messaging apps is completely independent of the car dealership’s opening hours. With the help of chatbots, you can offer excellent service 24/7.
5. Better customer connection
WhatsApp and other messaging apps are primarily used to communicate with family and friends. When businesses or service providers engage with customers on these channels, they’re allowed into their inner circle and can profit from a closer, more direct customer relationship.
What are specific situations in which car dealerships or car workshops can use messaging apps? We’ve gathered five useful examples of great use cases for innovative customer communication.
1. Appointment Scheduling
There are a variety of different ways that you can use messaging apps for appointment scheduling.
a) Appointment scheduling through individual messaging chat
A customer writes to you via the messaging app to set up an appointment. In the quick but asynchronous conversation (no one is sitting there waiting on the other party’s response) you easily settle on a date that works for the customer and can clarify all necessary details, such as the type of car, what needs to be done, and how long it will take.
b) Automated appointment scheduling
Your customer contacts your dealership via WhatsApp & Co. He would like to arrange a service appointment during which the engine should be washed and the most important components inspected. First, a chatbot gathers the most important customer data, such as whether he is a new customer, contact information, car information, etc. If the customer is new, he can easily register by sending a picture of the vehicle registration document. The bot then asks what type of appointment the customer is looking for and what dates work. When the customer confirms a date and time, the bot confirms this message.
Best Practice Example: Volkswagen Frankfurt uses a chatbot for appointment scheduling
At Volkswagen Frankfurt, a chatbot in First Level Support handles customer inquiries for service appointments. In the first step, customers are asked for the most important data and information, for example, whether they are already a customer or not. Once the type of appointment and the date itself has been confirmed, the bot passes the information on to the appropriate employee who continues the dialogue. Our short demo video shows you how a chatbot can help with an automated appointment.
c) Push notifications for appointment reminders
To remind your customer of the appointment a day or two before it takes place, you can use a notification message to remind him that the appointment is due and which documents he should have with him in any case. Important: Your customers must have agreed to get push notifications in advance.
The two screenshots below show the WhatsApp appointment reminder from the user’s perspective.
Currently, WhatsApp allows companies to use notifications for 10 different scenarios. These range from payment requests to appointment reminders, and to travel updates. In general, these are the most important WhatsApp notifications for car dealerships:
- Appointment Reminder – Remind your customers about important things such as scheduled appointments, regular technical check-ups, upcoming end of a leasing period
- Alert Update – Share urgent information with your customers immediately, for example, when an important software update needs to be added
- Delivery Status – Inform your customer about the most important updates after a new car purchase or order, such as production status, delivery date, pick-up time, etc.
2. Test Drives for your car dealership via WhatsApp and other messaging apps
A customer writes to your dealership and is interested in taking a test drive. A chatbot can take over and ask the customer all necessary initial questions for scheduling the drive: age, whether the customer has already used this dealership before, which model they’re interested in, and what times and dates are possible. When the customer has answered these questions, the chatbot can confirm the appointment and send a reminder before the appointment – including what documents the customer should bring with them.
Best Practice Example: Opel’s chatbot Chad schedules test drives
With “Chad,” Opel created a Facebook Messenger chatbot that makes it possible for customers to reserve nearby available car models for a test drive. Chad asks what model the customer is interested in, whether it should run on gas or diesel, and then for the customer’s area code. If there’s a car dealership in the area that offers test drives, the chatbot lets the user know that they can make the appointment directly there in the shop, or will connect you with a customer service employee.
More about chatbots in customer service
3. Pre-Purchase Consultation
There are also a variety of ways that you can offer great client care and consultation via messaging apps.
a) Car configuration
Your customers can use a messaging app to configure their dream car with you. A chatbot can be set up to have access to the relevant options for the car. Customers no longer have to use the configurator on your website, but can do so completely via WhatsApp & Co. – meaning that the service is more accessible on the go and takes place on the channel they use the most. Step by step, the chatbot asks your customer about the model, the color, the fuel type, the interior, the motorization, and any extras that are available for selection. Once the customer has completed his configuration, the bot presents the result. This can be in the form of a picture, a summary of the extras, a short video, etc. If the customer has any questions, the bot can pass them on to a suitable employee in the chat.
b) Help with buying a new car
A customer contacts your dealership because he wants to buy a new car. Using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, a bot can first clarify the most important questions (name, new customer or not, etc.), before handing the conversation over to an employee, with whom the customer can discuss other aspects, such as the model, financing options and more. Finally, you arrange a personal appointment to clarify details and take a drive with the targeted model. Before the appointment, you can send your customer a WhatsApp notification reminding him of what has been discussed so far and what documents he should bring with him.
Once the purchase has been made, you can inform the customer of the status of the car by using WhatsApp notifications to keep him informed about the production status or time, and place of delivery/collection.
Best Practice Example: Hyundai India increases car sales with WhatsApp campaign
How does the WhatsApp service work? The customer selects his car online on the “Click To Buy” sales platform. Normally, the customer would have to go to his car dealer to negotiate the price or arrange financing, for example.
In the case of “Click To Buy”, a sales representative contacts the customer and advises him on the next steps up to the purchase via WhatsApp. At negotiating prices or concluding financing, the customer is at an advantage over the salesperson, who, unlike in a conversation at a car dealership, now has to wait for his customer’s response and not the other way around. And during the chat, the customer can also determine more favorable offers and send them immediately to the sales representative, so that the latter can be persuaded to make the customer a more attractive offer than before.
The “Click To Buy” campaign has enabled Hyundai to increase car sales in India using WhatsApp. In May 2020, Hyundai India reached 1,500 bookings and delivered more than 900 cars. Considering that the Indian automobile market dropped to zero a month ago.
c) Help with buying a used car
A customer is interested in one of your used cars, which he has discovered on an online portal. He sends you the link via messaging app and you immediately know what model it is. You explain the specifications of the car as well as the pricing, which the customer matches with his ideas. If necessary, you will arrange an appointment on-site.
Another possibility would be that a customer contacts your car dealership via messaging app and wants to know which used cars are currently available and which one suits him best. A chatbot presents the top 10 models and asks the customer’s most important features (model variant, mileage, first registration, fuel type, etc.) The bot then hands over to the appropriate colleague, who discusses the details with the customer.
Best Practice Example: Autowelt Schuler Villingen Germany with personal customer service via WhatsApp
The car dealership Autowelt Schuler in Villingen Germany provides personal customer service via WhatsApp. Not only customer service but also purchase offers are created on the basis of the user’s data and then sent to the user.
d) Replacement part consultation
A customer contacts your dealership via WhatsApp to request a specific spare. You consult him via messaging chat and tell him if the part is in stock or needs to be ordered and what it costs. In addition, you can direct the customer to a service technician if this makes sense.
4. Workshop service
“My door’s jammed. What can I do?” Customers usually want to talk to the responsible service technician before, during, or at the end of a repair: they have questions about their car or need to know the status of the repair. Sometimes during a repair, the serviceman discovers that the car has other defects. “Mr. Mehner, your brake discs are pretty worn out. May I order a set of new brakes for you? The costs amount to a total of 800 euro including the installation.”
If the car is ready, you could also actively draw the customer’s attention to the fact that the workshop technicians have noticed something else: “Mr. Mehner, the current tires won’t last for another season. We are currently running a campaign in which you will receive a discount on the purchase of new summer tires”. These requests can be processed automatically.
Best Practice Example: BMW automated their workshop customer service with the WhatsApp service #FollowNow
BMW Munich has automated its workshop customer service using WhatsApp. Once a customer drops off a vehicle in the workshop, automatic tracking begins. Via WhatsApp, customers can request the service status and pick-up date of their car by using a keyword. Appointments can be scheduled in a WhatsApp chat with an employee.
💡 To find out more about how BMW has implemented WhatsApp in its customer service, take a look at our BMW Case Study.
5. Internal communication via WhatsApp
Car dealerships are often divided into two branches:
- the central branch, which supports the various locations in different cities
- the local branches, which are responsible for sales, regional promotion
The smaller dealerships and the headquarters are usually in constant contact, for example, if the dealer needs new advertising material or other documents from headquarters. This exchange still works today by telephone (which is time-consuming because the head office can only talk to one dealer at a time and not to several at the same time) or by e-mail (which takes a very long time because there is no direct response). Communication via messaging apps can help here! Your car dealership can order new advertising material quickly and directly via chat. A bot could help with the first selection and query the most important parameters such as size, content, and quantities. This saves the head office a lot of work and the dealer a lot of time, which he can invest in advising customers.
“Lucky”, is the WhatsApp chatbot for your car dealership! It helps to manage daily tasks in customer communication in the car dealership and saves valuable time. The nice thing is that the “Lucky” chatbot can be easily customized to the needs of every car dealership. As a WhatsApp service chatbot, it learns, works even on weekends, greets returning customers friendly, and is included in every MessengerPeople package. And if the chatbot gets stuck, he simply hands over to a real car dealership employee.
WhatsApp makes it easy to transfer the personal relationship with your customers to a digital channel. “Lucky”, the specially developed WhatsApp chatbot for car dealerships, supports you in realizing this successfully.
“Lucky” takes care of all common customer requests in the car dealership for you:
- Appointment for a test drive or a consultation on-site
- Handling of cost-release processes
- Transmission of repair status
- The query of personal data, license plate or mileage
- Breakdown service and damage report via photo and video
- Information on general topics such as opening hours or directions
… and you or your colleagues only take over when it becomes relevant.
Our demo video of “Lucky – the chatbot for car dealerships” shows you how this can look like:
WhatsApp does not offer any advertising opportunities. However, the user must always write first – only then the car dealership may reply (see: GDPR & WhatsApp). Car dealerships must therefore advertise their WhatsApp service externally so that existing or future customers can contact them via WhatsApp!
💡 In this article, we take a closer look at this topic and provide many tips and tricks for increasing WhatsApp users.
You can implement all these use cases with our software solution. It is immediately ready to use and browser-based. In addition, it can be used by your car dealership in compliance with GDPR. Via auto-routing, your colleagues in customer service always receive the right requests automatically assigned. Our Chatbot Builder helps you and your car dealership to make customer service more efficient with targeted automation via a chatot, for example when it comes to the pre-qualification of a customer request. Chat modules additionally relieve the customer advisors in direct customer communication.
You can get a first impression of our product here:
Tip: Arrange a live demo for our Messenger Communication Platform now with our expert for car dealerships, Bozina Babovic. He will guide you live through the product, give you valuable tips and answer all your questions.