Connected vehicle technology can give dealers the edge they need to squeeze past the competition, survive shrinking margins and overcome the headwinds of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With new car sales lagging, each customer satisfaction index (CSI) survey is even more crucial. After all, allocations of in-demand vehicles and bonus payouts from manufacturers can depend on it.
Aftermarket connected vehicle technology is a proven way to improve the purchase experience — and help turn one-and-done buyers into long-term customers.
Improving the buying experience
More and more, customers know exactly the vehicle they want to test drive when they arrive at a dealership. Making them wait while the salesperson attempts to find it on the lot is a great way to ensure poor marks on a CSI survey, An even better way is to walk a customer to a vehicle for a test drive only to discover that the battery is dead or the gas tank is empty.
Installing an inventory management system on new vehicle inventory can help salespeople score more perfect 10s, and meet the store’s CSI goals, by improving the buying experience.
The latest technology lets dealers monitor the location and status of each vehicle from a laptop or mobile phone. They can see where a car is parked, how full the gas tank is and how much charge the battery has. If the vehicle is buried three cars deep in the lot, the salesperson can know this in advance and bring the keys to all three vehicles. All this can save crucial time and help avoid costly delays when working with a customer.
When geofences are created, entry and exit alerts let salespeople know when a test driver leaves and reenters the lot. Unlike RFID telematics solutions that work only within the lot, a cellular-based solution can also track the vehicle on the road.
Improving the service experience
A car buyer will drive out of their way to get to a dealership, especially if the dealership has the popular model they want, but they won’t necessarily make the same trip for vehicle maintenance. After the warranty ends, many customers defect to independent shops. Connected vehicle technology helps keep customers coming back for service by streamlining the service experience.
For example, when a connected car is brought in for maintenance or repair, the service writer can know the car’s exact location for faster customer pickup. Service departments can track loaner vehicles the same way.
The newest connected car technology also helps dealers save money on service department marketing. LoJack® technology, for example, lets customers request service appointments directly from an app and lets dealers pull mileage reports on vehicles so they can reach out to customers with tailored service reminders and discounts.
Single solution for multi-make franchised dealerships
Telematics solutions, especially customer-facing applications, are available as OEM equipment, but it’s hard for dealers to use those systems for inventory management, especially in a multi-make franchise. With an inventory management system such as LoJack LotSmart™, dealerships can monitor multiple makes of vehicles all at once. Multi-franchise dealers can opt for a single solution for all their stores, eliminating the need to juggle separate OEM systems and loaner tracking options.
LotSmart can be integrated into a dealership management system (DMS) using VINs or stock numbers to help sales staff track the location of each equipped vehicle, help dealers manage their inventory turn rate, and help service staff monitor the health of each vehicle.
Sell-through benefits turn investment into profits
Selling through connected vehicle technology to the customer can turn the inventory management investment into a profit center.
For example, using the same telematics device, LotSmart for dealers can be sold through to consumers as SureDrive™, a connected car mobile app. Connected vehicle technology lets vehicle owners track the car’s location and status, receive speed alerts and unauthorized-use alerts and enjoy stolen vehicle recovery (SVR).
Some connected vehicle solutions can tell when the car is involved in an incident. CrashBoxx™ technology, which comes standard with LoJack’s connected car offerings, can detect crashes and allow LoJack to contact emergency services if needed. Customers value the technology, especially since the OEM doesn’t always offer a similar capability.
By selling through connected vehicle technology benefits, dealers can drive increased profits per vehicle retailed (PVR) as well as increased service traffic.
For car dealerships, loyal customers are worth their weight in gold, not only because they give perfect 10s on CSI surveys but because they come back for maintenance needs, and perhaps their next car. While the new car smell fades fast, a happy customer sticks around.
Learn more about LoJack’s nationwide inventory management and connected car solutions here.