53% of users who tweet at a brand expect a response within the hour

By: Joey Little

Today’s consumers expect quick responses — whether they’re waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting to get food at a restaurant, or waiting for communication from a business. When it comes down to it, consumers everywhere are driving a faster-paced market, and this holds true for their expectations on Twitter as well. 53 percent of users who tweet at their favorite brands online expect to receive a response in less than an hour after their initial tweet. And since a majority of individuals and businesses are connecting via mobile devices and platforms, it’s become much easier to offer the real-time engagement consumers crave.

Real-Time Customer Service

With the increased mobility and near-constant connectivity of your customers, it’s essential to develop a real-time customer service plan that keeps you connected and accessible. When you make it clear your dealership is available to answer questions and address concerns efficiently, you’ll earn trust and ensure shoppers continue to return to you for their automotive needs. A multi-channel approach will appeal to modern shoppers who are accustomed to accessing businesses whenever and wherever it’s convenient for them, so aim for a seamless experience across your online, in-store, phone, and social platforms.

Below are a few things you can do to work toward becoming a real-time, mobile-friendly dealership that meets the needs of connected consumers:

  • Ensure all content is accessible. Before you tout the easy accessibility of your customer service pros and your real-time responsiveness, it’s imperative to ensure all your content, forms, and tools are easily found via every channel. Be sure customers can quickly locate what they need, offer clear menus and buttons, and optimize all your content for mobile. By doing this, you’ll show consumers your dealership is innovative, flexible, and responsive.
  • Consider live chat. You may have noticed many dealership websites offering this alternative, and that’s because it’s getting rave reviews from shoppers—mostly because of the immediacy it offers. In a recent study, 63 percent of customers confirmed they would return to a website that offers live chat, as opposed to one without live chat. Additionally, a 73 percent customer satisfaction rating is reported because of live chat.
  • Show your human side. In other words, don’t simply copy and paste scripted content, because it only takes a moment for consumers to recognize robotic replies. Instead, give real, human responses and solutions that address the topics presented. At the very least, if you send automated responses, be sure to monitor them frequently to avoid customer service mishaps.
  • Don’t hide your links. Be sure it’s easy for consumers to find links back to your content and to customer service without having to sift through long lists of products and services. Specifically, make your customer service links stand out by using clear language that calls out “Customer Service” or “Customer Care” so your customers know exactly where to go when they need to reach you.
  • Actively listen. Building great customer service is about listening to the things consumers are saying and then improving upon the ways your dealership meets their needs. In addition to responding to individual requests and concerns, spend time actively listening and interacting on your social platforms to learn what matters to shoppers. You’ll get some great insights, and you’ll build your audience in the process.
  • BOLO or Be on the Lookout. Keep your eyes open for new and exciting platforms that draw consumers in. Not only can you generate engagement on these sites, but you should also be monitoring them for customer service opportunities that will arise when your dealership is mentioned. In addition to finding out if your customers are on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and other social sites, keep in mind you can also leverage loyalty programs, contests, perks, and coupons to engage consumers and get them to give you valuable feedback.

Customer service is more important now than ever, and in-the-moment customer service is at the top of the priority list for demanding, busy, and mobile consumers. Look for ways your dealership can provide authentic, real-time customer service, and you’ll build trust and earn loyal customers. It doesn’t take long to read a Tweet and respond, however it can be nearly impossible to regain the trust of a lost customer. When you dedicate time and attention to your online customer service, it will pay off in the long run.

Bio: Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert.  An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.

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