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.
Facebook”s job postings are proving to be a great way to find and hire people.
Able to be very specific in what and where you are looking for. The deliverable of the job application to an email for quick follow up helps us start conversations right away with potential hires. High recommend.
Franklin, TN that is.
Read an article this morning on SeekingAlpha that really lays out how important a Service dept is in a Nissan dealership. It’s the front line of customer interactions with a dealership. And how well or how poorly those interations are handled determines the long term health of a dealership.
Here is an excerpt:
At the root of the problem is a classic example of a technical issue faced by a company, being made worse by poor handling of the problem. I am talking about Nissan’s CVT transmission problems, which is steadily eroding its customer base, as well as pushing away new potential Nissan customers. Nissan’s lack of ability to deal with the fallout and fix the problem is currently causing it significant financial damage, not to mention long-term damage to the brand. Lack of progress on this issue, combined with the need to invest billions of dollars, or perhaps even tens of billions of dollars into establishing a stronger EV presence may prove to be too much for Nissan in the next decade.Zoltan Ban , SeekingAlpha
The full article is here:
Sometimes you have to show the way. Figure out the problems. Confront the obstacles. Suffer the brain damage for a dealership.
I stumbled across a need a dealership has this morning.
Yesterday, I posted photos of a dealerships thanksgiving lunch.
(not the best photos either, it was a rowdy crowd)
Turns out that post was the most engaged post of the whole week for the store. Eeeeek ! That cant be good.
What that means to me now is I have to give it a little focus. Fold into my activities ways to gather, edit and post organic content for the store. And
to take it further I going to have to include all the dealerships that I can. Because if this store is having problems…. others are as well.
This will be an ongoing post over the next 2 weeks as we move our CDJR Dealership to a new location.
Using the opportunity to develop a Move Checklist.
**updates may get a little confusing,**
I will try to smooth it out over time.
Threw together a quick chart to get a basic organization flowing. Will need to flesh each item out and lay out a timeline.
UPDATE: AM Nov 26 two weeks till move
Added Yelp to the NAP update list. Began press release. Working on website updates, social teasers and point of sale for the showroom and service drive. Gathering assets. Notifying vendors of upcoming move with dates and address. As well as a post on the dealerships blog.
Where to upload those first piece of content ?
Google of course first and fast, but well meta’d.
UPDATE: PM 11/26 TUE
Here is where I started working on the metadata
of each piece of content going forward. Had to make sure there were signals out there for Uncle Google to hear. including the new address in everything.
And creating a FB scheduled post to count down the day till the move.
Working with pretty poor imagery to start with but it will improve quickly.
Plus I am going to travel next week to work on location and keep the info flowing. And gather may own pics and video.
UPDATE: AM 11/26 WED
It’s full on crazy trying to over come Black Friday. Our message is drowned out heavenly. It will be Monday (cybermonday) when will have to dig in full force.
Plus thanksgiving is going to slow everything down. Which is the time to build content. Prepare and lay up stores for next week push. I am also going to have to clear my plate as I am going to be in Beaufort early next week. Need to get a few tasks taken care of so they are not obstacles to getting it done in Beaufort.
Do not assume that there is not someone at the dealership tying to manage some of the same web properties that you are trying to update. Be humble, respect others efforts.
UPDATE: The day after Thanksgiving.
Looking internally now at the store and what impacts the address change will have.
The CRM is a little bit of a hole that will need some work ahead of time.
Starting with identifying any of those little places, the nooks and crannies of the system.
Of course the emails and email templates will need to have the <insert address> data updated so that it drops in the correct address.
And I am going to scrub the current templates to see it there are any hard coded with old address and rebuild those.
The forms that the CRM spits out will need updating. Quotes sheets, We Owe’s ect.. will have to updated and tested.