July 13, 2020

Automotive Customer Service Trends in the Age of Coronavirus

Since March, Forty-six percent of consumers are spending an additional four hours a day on their phones and localized, auto-industry-specific searches are up 22% in the last 30 days (MoM). This activity is shining a bright light on every dealer’s digital engagement strategy, whether they're prepared

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Change is upon us. Since March, Forty-six percent of consumers are spending an additional four hours a day on their phones, and localized, auto-industry-specific searches are up 22% in the last 30 days (MoM). While we’ve seen these trends in the past 20 years, the pandemic has accelerated their impact. This activity is shining a bright light on every dealer’s digital engagement strategy, whether they're prepared for it or not.

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As car dealerships implement new processes to enable at-home sales and service transactions, it’s easy to overlook the role of reputation management. We all tend to think of reputation management as star ratings. “How can I get my star rating above that of my competitors?” has been the driving question behind the growth of reputation management tools and services in recent history. It makes sense, given that 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Beyond the quest for five-star ratings, reputation management has also quietly taken its place amongst the most effective local SEO strategies. Google confirmed that reviews and review responses play a role in search ranking, and other reliable third-parties like Search Engine Journal have done the work to prove it through real-world testing. In a study released this year, Moz shows reviews second to only Google My Business information in the local search priority list. Most notably - reviews came in ahead of searcher location, also known as “proximity”, for the first time.

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While parts of the United States have begun a return to pre-COVID protocols, others will likely remain dependent on digital interfacing for the foreseeable future. Further, consumers may have recognized the additional value and convenience of remote ordering, curbside pick-up, and other efforts to maintain social distancing. If these processes are preferred, they may be around for the long term.

The future might seem uncertain, but we’re sure about one thing: online customer service matters. It had been gaining in importance over the last couple years, but engaging with your patrons over the web will only become more ubiquitous as our country continues to lean on virtual commerce. 

The simplest way to keep up with this trend is to partner with an online review management service like Widewail. Our products ensure that all of your guests, whether they visit your brick-and-mortar or order from home, are treated with five-star care. If someone is unhappy with a recent purchase, our team will get them connected with the help they need. Ultimately, our mission is to support customers who might otherwise feel isolated behind their computer screens. 

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to publicly display your commitment to exceptional customer experience - a couple good reviews with friendly responses may be the additional reassurance your next customer needs to decide your dealership is the best bet. Visit our website or contact us for more details on our review response and customer engagement services. 

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Jane Garfinkel

I’m a New Jersey native who joined the Widewail team during my brief stint in Burlington. Now living in Jersey City, I currently serve as the Response Team Lead and Content Specialist. My background is in writing and my work has been published by Thrillist, Reductress, McSweeneys, The Rumpus, and more. I occasionally update my own blog No Meat, Some Potatoes, and in my free time I hang out with my dog Jake.

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