Keeping customers informed has become some of the most important work I do. It’s not sexy nor is it cool.
A change in our stores operational hours is one key bit of information to get in front of customers.
Getting it there can offer a challenge. And uncover weaknesses. Like keeping up with your passwords or access changes.
I found that my Group level login to AutoTrader had either been changed or got caught up in Cox Automotive push to a unified login… which I had been avoiding … so shame on me. Being a hard head can get you hard results.
Found that it is best to deal with it in the most kind way possible. I have said it before. There are going to be many many unforeseen roadblocks to overcome in the near future. Being a dick, does not help get things done.
I started with our website… although that was not what I thought was most important. The most important is the Google My Business page. But, I need to make sure I had the website update first so that when Google went about checking to verify, the info would be there. And our Google Maps presence would get it’s update from there.
And then went about all the other places.
Our CRM Eleads so that inbound leads could be timed properly.
CarNow our chat provider to allow the reps that handled our after hours and overflow chat sessions would have the right info to share with customers.
Yelp needs updating, although like a lot of automotive folks, I even hate just logging into the platform. #thehateisreal. But it must be done, Apple references Yelp, so you gotta do it.
Apple Maps got it’s update to, ’cause lets face it, even if I do not, there are people who use apple maps.
Updating Cargurus I found a happy surprise. Cargurus is the easiest place I found to update a dealerships hours. They give you a slider to move. Fast and easy. Thanks CarGurus !
Then there are the other online classifieds, CarsdotCom and Autotrader.
Lord help me if I didn’t get feckin Facebook updated. Jeeze.
Last ( for now) but not least getting the OEM to update there pages and references to the dealership to reflect the proper, correct hours.
What seems like a simple operation… of course works out not to be simple.
Getting the word out that we are open and we are serious about safety during the initial stages of COVID19.
Initial messaging. Really no time for much individual customization by dealership.
Here are my initial notes I am bringing into our action plan meeting.
Will be interesting to see what comes out on the other side
ANTICIPATED SCENARIO -Severe reduction in demand and supply chain disruption. -Local Governments decisions will have the greatest impact. -Employee health and family situations. BE READY TO COMMUNICATE TO CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES - What is your dealerships services status. (open / closed – hours) - Any special instructions for parking or changes in the service areas - In store signage (directional, notices) - Show / demonstrate what steps are being taking to protect/mitigate - Google My Business page is first to update. (I have control of all except CDJR) then website, followed by Social outlets. -Informational eblast thru Eleads / Autopoint SUSPEND LEAD PROVIDERS (30 Day notice that can be extended if needed) - Go ahead and submit 30-day outs - Same for OEM lead programs – if unable, then shrink the radius REDUCE WEBSITE TO BASIC FUNCTIONALITY (reducing overall cost) -Strip out all third party (paid) widgets -Unless managed in-house remove chat (prefer we keep chat if can) DIGITAL ADVERTISING -SEM should be reduced to core model keywords along with fixed ops. -SEO can be suspended until on the other side. -Display can be suspend until on the other side. -Online video, OTT, PVOD should continue or even increase. -Social advertising should continue or even increase TRADITIONAL ADVERTISING Scaling back TV and Radio vs Going Dark -Public will likely be in homes consuming media, keeping a limited top of mind TV/Radio presence will benefit us as we start to ease out of this COVID event. -Going dark will make it difficult to "ramp back up". And more expensive in the long run. OTHER SERVICES -Reputation management can be suspended until the event is over -*Vehicle pictures/merchandising/ window stickers will present a problem. Some do in-house. Others depend on a third party that cannot be relied on to provide that service. -Newsletter providers like DSplus, Outsell, ?BMW's can be suspended until after the event. -Data mining like AutoLoop, Mastermind, IN DEALERSHIP CONSIDERATIONS -We use a bare bones cleaning service. We are going to HAVE TO SHOW that we are upping the cleanliness of our facilities. - In store signage. -Social distancing. Most Service advisors are too close and in a small space with customers. -At what point do we mask up?-See something, say something. If someone in store appears sick, we need a mechanism to report and a chain of authority to act. DEALERSHIP LEADERSHIP VULNERABILITIES - We have GM's that travel a good distance. Their local situation may prevent them from being at the store. Need to define/designate a chain of succession. CAN WE DO OFFSITE DELIVERY / SALES TO CUSTOMER HOMES ?? -We would have to show/prove our employee doing the delivery has tested negative. -We would have to protect our employees from being exposed to customers in their homes. SECURITY -Expect less law enforcement as they will be strained by this event as well as their own personnel will be affected. MISC. -We should ask all vendors for a reduced rate until July 2020. LEAD PROVIDERS ON 30 DAY OUT Autotrader Cars.com Cargurus KBB Carfax Edmunds Truecar AutoApr Tidewater
Exterior Audience Messaging
Internal Audience Messaging
Changes to Budgets
Advertising Spend / Effectiveness
Viability Of In Dealership Services
A Positive Test Result Actions
Rainy day visit to Columbus. Basically raw video. Testing different shooting modes.