A few weeks back I went to a local service shop near our house to get my oil changed. Pulling up to the shop I could immediately tell I was in for a pretty good wait. After walking inside and up to the front counter I was greeted and asked what I was in for. Telling the representative I was there for just a simple oil change he looked down and then back up to me and said it would be about a 30 minute wait. I told him no problem, handed over my keys and took at seat in the waiting room.

After about 35 minutes or so I realized that 30 minutes was probably going to turn in to an hour. Growing a little impatient I walked back up to the counter and asked if they were close to getting started on my car. The representative at this point looked a little flustered and after apologizing told me it could be another 30 minutes. Getting a little hungry at this point I told him that I would just come back another day. Realizing that I more than likely would not be back and would probably end up getting my oil changed somewhere else he asked me to wait one minute and walked to the office at the back of the building. Walking back he had a small piece of paper and handed it to me. He said if you are willing to wait another 30 minutes you can go next door to Chick-fil-A and lunch would be on them. He handed me a coupon for a free meal deal and said when I got back my car would be ready to go. Shocked by the display of great customer service I grabbed the coupon walked next door and enjoyed a quick lunch.

When I got back to the shop my car was pulled around front and ready to go. After checking the representative then gave me a coupon for a FREE oil change on my next visit for the inconvenience. This kind gesture was without a doubt above and beyond the small amount of extra time that I had to wait and a reason for securing my future business.

Good companies recognize that the only way to grow their business is to go above and beyond in creating the greatest amount of satisfaction for their customers. Furthermore, the service shop above has not only gained me as a future valued customer but they have tapped in to my personal network of friends and family of which I have recommended their business to. An oil change is really nothing special, thousands of shops across the country perform the same services day in and day out; however, it is the ones that go above and beyond in creating a memorable experience that continue to thrive.

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Since my last blog about the Summer Sales Event, I’ve had a lot of activity with updating slideshows and interior pages on my dealer’s websites.  Was it because of my insightful blog?  I like to think so, but that’s difficult to measure.

Now that you know what kind of changes you want to make to your webpage, take a little extra time to make sure they will be effective.  I don’t expect everyone to be marketing experts so I’ll help you out.  Here are some hints when creating slides:

  1. When creating a slide realize you only have about 6-8 seconds for the viewer to see the overall slide, read it, comprehend it and decide if they want to click on it.  This is the same way you view a billboard on the side of the road – it’s a temporary image with one direct message.
  2. Don’t be too descriptive – that’s what the Image Link page is for (you want to link the slide to an interior page with a full description). 
  3. Think about where your eyes are drawn to on the slide.  You want the main focus to be what you are selling.  Bright image graphics or off set wording can be distracting and take away from the main point of your slide.

If you are creating the slide yourself or if you have your website provider create it for you make sure your point gets across.  It’s always a good idea to get a non-bias 3rd party to take a look and get their feedback on what they are drawn too and what message they perceive from the slide.  If you have more questions on how we can help your website get the right attention, give us a call. 

Liquid Motors, Inc – 800-581-2884

I’ve been involved in Customer Service for the past 17 years.  I’ve seen lots of both good and bad interactions with customers.  A company’s most vital asset is its customers. Consequently a good customer service experience requires one to be an advocate of the customer, as that is what good customer service is all about. 

Some of the key points I’ve learned along the way:

1. Listen, Listen, Hear – Listening is one of the key points of customer service, but it doesn’t end there.  Listening alone doesn’t do the trick.  You have to be able to understand not only what they are saying but their ultimate NEEDS.  

2.  Respond – So many support/service departments don’t acknowledge your problem in a timely manner.  Nothing is more frustrating than having a problem that has not yet been acknowledged.  Just letting a customer know your issue is understood and is being investigated/worked upon makes a world of difference.

3.  Set reasonable expectations – Don’t fall into the trap of promising something you can’t provide.  We’ve all been the victim of a support person saying what ever they needed to say to make us happy.  A good support department doesn’t do that, finding reasonable solutions to a problem is our job.  As is, setting reasonable expectations so we all know what is going to happen from here. 

4.  Empathize – I’m the guy people go to when they need support, and even I’ve been in a fix where I needed help.  When talking with a customer we can always get to the heart of the problem, and consequently the solution faster if you make them at ease and let them know you’ve been there before. 

5. Verify – In the IT industry there are always multiple solutions to a problem.  However, not every solution that seem like it will work, will actually fix the problem.  Verify your problem is solved.  This also goes hand in hand, with interacting with your customer to ensure they believe the problem is solved.  Even if you’ve found a solution the problem has not been solved until your customer understands it has been solved.

I’ve been a part of many support departments in my career.  I have to say I’m proud to be a part of the Liquid Motors support staff, as we are one of the premier support departments in the industry.  We strive to ensure you have the best customer service experience possible.

 

It’s that time of year – new models are being introduced!  Excitement is stirring in the air and dealers can hardly maintain the hype.  That means the Summer Sales Events are about to be in full force.  I hope your employees are ready for some of the busiest months of the year.

Here are some helpful hints to prepare:

  • Start by making sure everything on your website is looking how you want.  If you need to add service specials or update your staff page, this may be the time of the year that your webpage gets the most hits. 
  • Update your main page with a new slide introducing your Summer Sales Event.
  • Inform all employees within the dealership of the Sales Event.  Your service operator, cashier or porter should know enough information to at least direct someone inquiring. 
  • Local advertising is obviously important – newspapers, tv/radio ads, billboards.

Your website host is happy to make any changes needed, but please don’t want until the last minute.  I would recommend checking over your website as soon as possible to give ample time for the changes to be made and double checked. 

Let’s make this the best Sales Event your dealership has ever had!!  For more information on how Liquid Motors could benefit your dealership’s success, please contact us!

Does anyone remember when car dealers thought the Internet was not going to impact their business and that they did not need it? Heck I sure do because I was behind a desk at a store and remember it like it was yesterday.  Well now we are faced although in a smaller scale a similar question, “Do I really need a mobile website”?

My goal of this blog is to give you some statistics and patterns that will certainly open your eyes as to what is happing in the automotive segment and what is with out question going to happen.

According to Morgan Stanley’s report for 2011 over half of all Americans now own a smart phone! I have to admit when I read this I was blown away, my first thought was I guess the economy is not as bad as I thought. Then as I continued my research I see where Google stated they activate over 900K Android devices everyday with the trend heading towards tablets.

Now that we know that customers are buying mobile devices and the forecast through 2015 is only stronger in the mobile device arena lets see how current mobile user behavior impacts the automotive industry.

Google is now releasing a lot of automotive specific information as they enter the automotive space with their Dealer Jumpstart Google Automotive Team.  There were a few specific details that really stood out to me.  In your mind right now take an internal guess of what percentage of automobile related queries happen daily via a mobile device?

If you guessed 20% you are correct the slide below gives you a visual feel for how mobile device searches is in hyper drive. Google is also reporting that by 2015 half of ALL queries will come from a Smartphone.

Now you’re a believer that mobile is here to stay and increasing daily. Let us take a look at some of these mobile users behavior.  The behavior of a customer is invaluable in your marketing efforts and by knowing this you can put your dealership in front of these in market customers.

What time of the day are they searching? Every vendor I know of including us here at Liquid Motors will tell you if you’re in the Internet business you need to be available when the customers are shopping.  Would you be surprised to learn that 35% of the time consumers are searching for answers to their automotive questions they are doing it when the dealership is closed 7PM-7AM according to Google? This not only shows how critical it is to have the information customers are looking for at their finger tips but to be available for them. Now that is customers service and great customer service WINS!

How Google says customers are engaging dealerships on the move and look at the percentage of customers actually doing price comparison while they are on your lot!

The fact that customers are doing price comparisons on your lot should not be a surprise heck remember the “old 3rd base coach” they would be on the phone with at home looking on line at pricing? Now they just have the ability to do it in their palm, plus with so many new apps like Redline that consumers are using they are getting trained to do this.

Here is your mobile ready checklist

Create a mobile optimized website. Your main dealer site may be visible on your mobile phone but there are so many functions that are lost and the user experience is lacking to say the least. With Google’s statistics that 57% of mobile users say they would not recommend a business with a poor mobile site and 40% of mobile users have turned to a competitor after a bad mobile experience using your main dealer site as your mobile site is just not acceptable in today’s market.

Make it easy for customers to get to your mobile site – use a company that utilizes device detection so mobile users are automatically viewing your mobile site not redirected or required to use a different mobile URL. Here is an example of a Liquid Motors Full and Mobile site comparison.  The site is http://www.mercedesbenzofgeorgetown.com/  if you wish to review the site yourself.Track clicks for “get directions” and “click to call”. Take advantage of your analytics they will allow you to make adjustments to your websites SEO.

Utilize tools such as QR Codes so consumers looking for answers or vehicle details can find these easily. These Quick Response codes should take consumers directly to the vehicle details page on your mobile website.  You can also use them on your mobile sites to allow customers to see more information or fill out contact forms easily.

Track and monitor results with your analytics.

Make measureable adjustments as needed. Remember if you make a change you want to know where you are at the time of the change so you can measure a positive or negative affect of that change.

Are customers doing reviews about car dealerships and what do you consider a review? If you ask most people what they think of when you ask, “What is a review” most would tell you a form the customer fills out. Well according to Google 80% of car purchasers will tell someone about their experience and in today’s world, 50% are doing so digitally.  Roughly 10% of these buyers will do so in a written or digital form submission. Word of mouth still rules the roast it seems.

What is next for Google, we know Live Chat for Adwords powered by ActiveEngage is in beta but who really knows I am sure there will be a lot over the next several months as they enter the automotive space full speed. I do know one item I have seen and since Google offered 6 Billion dollars to purchase Groupon® which was rejected a new product has been coming down the pipe line called Google Offers.  If you are familiar with Groupon® then you have an idea of what they are doing.  Not only can customers sign up to get local offers they are interested in like Groupon® but on Google searches customers can click on the “offer” icon and the current offer your dealership has running will display. No release date on this that I have found or heard to date.

Thank you for following my blog and all of us hear at Liquid Motors appreciate your input, feedback and support, without our dealers we are nothing!

Global economics have certainly challenged the selling side of the equation.  Larger populations – larger markets?  Maybe not.  Maybe just more diverse markets…and lots of them! 

The driving goal for any business is learning how to capture market share – and the bigger the share, the better!!  While automobile manufacture is global, sales are regional…unless we’re talking specialty cars.  And in a very competitive economic environment, finding that sweet spot is essential to dealers – it keeps business moving, covers financial commitments, and (hopefully) funds more than a couple of retirements, kids in college, and the occasional dream vacation!

So how to find the sweet spot(s)?  Do a little homework.  And get creative.  Of all those families with 2.3 kids, how many are driving age?  What about the Baby Boomers?  They’re a huge economic base and have more disposable income than those families just starting out.  How many universities are in your area?  They’re a great source of potential buyers. 

All these markets are looking for their specific deal – the offer that has them in mind.  Do a little work…rev up those creative thinkers…and capture more than your fair share of the markets!

Creating compelling descriptions for your inventory can be one of the most time consuming task that you perform when merchandising your inventory. This is especially true when it comes to creating descriptions for your used car inventory…those units you might not be 100% familiar with all the options, awards and details of thus, make it even more challenging to come up with quality content. I work with several dealers whose pictures rival those of the actual manufacturer yet when you look at their listings not a single one of them has a description tied to it. It is not only important to have descriptions on each inventory item to help provide potential buyers with more information…but it is also a critical component when it comes to getting your cars found on both the major search engines as well as your third party advertising sites. Without relevant content these sites will have nothing to look for and will ultimately bring your competitors site to the head of the pack.

With advances in technology comes the ability to automate processes that once were a time consuming burden on the dealer. Products such as our OMG (Optimal Merchandising Generator) give dealers the ability to take key vehicle data and populate pre-defined custom description templates across their new, used and certified inventories allowing them to spend more time taking better pictures of their inventory or simply focusing on selling more cars.

So whether you use an automated tool such as OMG or enjoy taking the time to write your descriptions on your own make a point to ensure that they are all compelling, complete and as accurate as possible.

Google Analytics can be a scary thing, but it will help you with your Internet marketing the more you understand it. I would urge you to log into your account and look around. Google Analytics Standard Reporting can be narrowed down by the hour, day, week, and month.

Google Analytics Standard Reporting shows you. Visits, Unique visitors, page views, pages/visit, avg. visit duration, bounce rate, and % new visits. This report will tell you how many visitors have been to your site and how long they stayed.

The Site Content report shows you the site content. This report shows how many times someone has looked at your site pages. This would be helpful in letting you know if your site pages are sending the right messages.

The Site Speed Report shows you avg. page load time, avg. redirection time, avg. domain lookup time, avg. server connection time, avg. server response time, and avg. page download time. This report is telling you how fast your site is.

The In Page Analytics shows you where consumers are clicking on your site. This report is will show you in detail where people click exactly on your pages and give you percentages which is helpful when creating new pages to draw more attention to your site.

This is a basic over view of Google Analytics. You owe it to yourself and company to log in and become familiar with this powerful tool.

 

The answer is – it should!  But honestly, when was the last time you checked to see what your website was saying to your viewers?  We constantly add and add and change and add things to our websites and before long we know exactly what’s on it, but we have no idea how it looks to others.  I find it incredibly difficult to step back from my own “masterpiece” sometimes because I feel like it’s such a part of me that I would hate for anything to happen to any piece of it.

As I go through my dealers’ websites a majority of them look amazing (probably because we host them) but then there are the ones that I click to go on their main page and I’m already stressed out.  Be concise and direct with what you are want your viewers to see.  I want to know exactly where to go for anything I am looking for within the first 3-4 seconds.  If I have to search, then I get frustrated and will go back to my Google search and see what comes up next.  That’s website suicide!

Don’t be overly artistic with your website.  Fluff is not always a good thing.  Viewers want structure and conformity – they are expecting to find information the same way they find it on other websites.  You have no idea how many times I have been on a website and could not find the phone number or the hours of operation.  It makes me feel like I’m the dumb one.  There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing how to navigate a page.

Now for the contrasting question – Is it saying enough?  This is where it is important to make sure you are practicing good search engine optimization.  Keywords through out your website will help search engines know what you are advertising and hopefully get you as high on the list as possible.  Consider listing each vehicle as new/pre-owned, make/model/style, the surrounding cities, having a dynamic URL and the list goes on and on.

All of our websites are not only designed with the search engines in mind but more importantly are designed for the best user experience possible. Our goal is to incorporate logical website navigation centered on getting shoppers directly to the information they are looking for in as few clicks as possible. We want to ensure that every page on our sites is quick to load which will help reduce the amount of “bounces” our dealer’s sites receive.

Please call us if you would like more information on how we can help you and your dealership maximize your online potential!  We would love to help you! www.liquidmotors.com

 

As I was thinking about my blog this month and what to write about I was flipping through a popular industry magazine hoping to find inspiration.  As I went from page to page I was trying to think what a dealer would want to hear about or learn.  I started to notice titles of articles:  “QR Codes you must have them”, “Your Facebook is not working”, “Website evaluation today”. As I started to look over some of these I realized that they are really not educational articles teaching industry best practices they were more trying to convince me that what I am doing now or the company I am using now is not what I should be doing. As I thought about that I started to notice that the articles were tied to specific products or promotions particular companies are pushing.  Now before I continue let me say myself or Liquid Motors is not completely innocent of this if you even consider it an issue but what it really got me thinking about is the best way to choose a vendor and why dealers stay with certain vendors for long periods of time.

To determine how to best choose a vendor I thought it would make sense to talk with and look into why our very own dealers and auto groups have stayed with us for such an extended period of time and here are the main areas of feedback I received:

 

  1. The      support I receive is top notch and the fact that you offer 24/7 support      really tells me Liquid Motors is a partner in my efforts to be successful.
  2. I got      as good or better solutions when I moved to Liquid Motors and the fact      that I would consolidate to just 1 or 2 vendors versus the 5 or 6 I had      before saves me money every month.
  3. As the      GM I don’t have time to look into my Internet department everyday but the      reports I get automatically emailed to me gives me a quick snap shot and      allows me to identify issues early on.       The end of the month detailed report from my Liquid Motors account      manager gives me a great overview also.       I don’t get this with other vendors I have.
  4. Most      vendors tell us how their solutions will make us better, Liquid Motors      works with us to provide the solutions we feel we need for long term      success.  Sharing strategic plans      with a vendor who can understand our vision and then provide solutions to      allow us to achieve that vision is invaluable.

 

As I heard these comments it became very clear what dealers and auto groups should look for when selecting a vendor:

 

  1. Support–      Does this vendor offer the level of support that I need?
  2. Cost– Can I save money with this      vendor or does the solution truly validate the expense or additional      expense?
  3. Partnership– Is this vendor going      to care about my success or failures?
  4. Solution– Am I able to make      feature request to enhance the solution so that my specific goal/plan can      be achieved or will I be placed in a “cookie cutter” type solution?

 

These items may be easy to assume you can do this with your current vendors but understanding that many companies white label other company’s solutions or use other companies platforms to power their solution make it virtually impossible for them to customized items for your particular dealership or auto group.

 

I hope this helps when you start your search for your next vendor and as always thank you for following us on facebook, twitter and our blog.

 

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