The car purchase process of the future: Data based insights into winning strategies

Puls Market Research (puls Marktforschung GmbH) is a leading provider of data collection and market analysis in the automotive industry. With regular studies, they capture trends, long-term developments and buying behaviour, as well as the market situation and state of the international automotive industry. 

Dr_Konrad_Weßner (1)EASI’R has spoken with Dr. Konrad Weßner, Managing Director and owner of puls Marktforschung GmbH, about their recently published puls study “Car and Car Purchase of the Future” and has asked with which strategies car dealerships can successfully position themselves in the digital age.


EASI’R:
Today, the majority of customers starts researching for a new car on the internet, and the majority of customers contacts at least two car dealerships at the same time. Which aspects are of particular importance for car dealers in order to guide customers from the online journey to the dealership successfully?

Dr. Weßner: On the one hand, car dealers need to be able to pick up customers online based on their individual needs, e. g., supported by offering an online need analysis. In addition, car dealers have to position themselves prominently on the internet and offer easy-accessible touch points, e. g., making it possible that customers can book test drives online with one click. The specific services and advantages of a certain dealership need to be presented already online, e. g. via dealership videos. Dealers really need to convey that it makes a difference for the customer which dealer they choose.

On the other hand, it’s as important that the car dealer also demonstrates his capabilities in customer interaction online and shows that the customer is really the center of attention.

Personalization of the customer correspondence is key online and offline. Customers should never get the impression that they are fobbed off with a standardized answer.

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First priority is the rapid response to customer inquiries from the internet, second priority should be the personalization of the communication. Customers should never get the impression that they are fobbed off with a standardized answer. Moreover, their questions should be answered individually on all channels, from emails to social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

EASI’R: The future of physical car dealerships in a digital age is controversial. However, the current puls study on “Car and Car Purchase of the Future” finds that an increasing number of customers considers stationary car dealerships as being indispensable (in 2015 the share was 31%, in 2017 62%). How do you explain this uptrend?

Dr. Weßner: During the last years, cars have become increasingly complex and customers need more explanations than earlier, as there are constantly innovations and new equipment coming on the market that customers are not familiar with. This starts with entertainment systems and route planning apps and continues with questions about the range of electric cars, new driver assistance systems, lane keeping systems, or cars with autonomous driving at level 3. This type of knowledge is nothing that people would just acquire on the internet. Moreover, people want to try out these innovations in real life and they want explanations.

In fact, the major innovative leaps still lie ahead of us, e. g., the electric vehicle offensive and self-driving cars. Therefore, I expect that the customer’s approval on the indispensability of physical car dealerships will even continue to increase in the coming years.

Cars today are so complex that customers can hardly acquire all needed knowledge alone by an online research. Skilled car salespeople will remain the major contacts, as they can then configure the vehicle according to the customer’s wishes and give the needed explanations.

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EASI’R: How serious is the attempt of some online providers to sell cars directly via the internet against this background?

Dr. Weßner: I cannot imagine that this will become prevalent. If at all, this model can only function as a niche, for customers who already know exactly what they want and also only for cars that are offered in a maximum of two to three equipment variants. Such an online business model can hardly be profitable, because only fully standardized vehicles could be offered. In a BMW 5 Series for example, this would only correspond to about 40% of a maximum equipped vehicle and you don’t earn much this way. The trend in car buying behaviour rather goes into the direction of active consultative advice on individualization and the possibilities for this are becoming bigger and bigger. A car salesperson knows everything about the different variants, can then configure the vehicle exactly according to the customer’s wishes and he can also sell accessories and extras such as a massage seat or LED headlights on top.

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EASI’R: The puls group has just published a new study on social media and automotive retail. How important are social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn or Xing as part of the online strategy for car dealers and manufacturers today?

It is important that car dealers understand the social media channels as important lead sources and answer inquiries sent via social networks quickly and personally.

Dr. Weßner: Recent studies clearly show that the younger target group under the age of 30 can hardly be reached via traditional advertising formats. This also applies to the automotive industry. Especially when it comes to such a long-lived good like a car, customers have the urge to virtually secure themselves once again in an authentic way and not solely rely on the advice of a car salesperson. Therefore, some car brands and car dealers have started to work together with (local) influencers, who are not as expensive and outworn as the big social media stars, but are able to reach the local buyers. It is important that car dealers understand the social media channels as lead sources as well and answer inquiries sent via social networks quickly and personally.

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Interested in learning more about EASI’R? Then just request your free demo at www.easir.com/request-demo or contact us for further information at sales@easir.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

How Car Dealers Benefit from Increasing Digitalization

For more than 85 years, the international operating DAT Group (Deutsche Automobil Treuhand) collects and prepares comprehensive automotive data, providing the automotive industry with valuable, current insights on market behaviour around used and new car purchases, and the repair shop business.

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.03.31EASI’R has spoken with DAT press speaker Dr. Martin Endlein about the findings from the latest DAT report on the future of car dealerships and possible strategies to deal with customers who become more and more digital.

“In the digital ages, dealers have to position themselves as competent contact persons, also beyond the actual car purchase”

EASI’R: The latest DAT report finds that 80% of new car buyers and 78% of used car buyers are researching for a new car online today. Which implications for the future of physical car dealerships does that have?

Dr. Martin Endlein: Already ten years ago, people in the industry said that the end of car dealerships would be near, due to the increasing digitalization of the customer journey. But that has not happened yet and it also won’t happen that soon. Current data even suggest that approval for local dealerships has increased significantly in recent years, especially in the new car segment. Cars have always been complex products and they have become even more complex during the last few year, so they are actually more in need of explanation today than ever before. Besides from that, many customers find it very time-consuming to do a complete online research for a new car at home on their own, and therefore, they continue to appreciate the expertise and advice provided by the local car dealer.

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EASI’R: The DAT Report 2018 also states that 20-25% of all car buyers have changed the car brand because of the internet at least once. 15% have even purchased a new car via a new car portal. How can dealerships re-establish customer loyalty? And is the digitization undermining brand loyalty?

Dr. Endlein: The internet now offers the customer the opportunity to easily compare offers from different brands and different retailers, for example, to find extras or to set additional quality promises such as financing offers. Volatility in buying behavior has always existed, but of course the competition between the car dealerships has clearly increased due to digitalization. For the customer, the overall package is important because it decides whether customers actually accept longer travel times for the better offer, or not. In general, the more attractive price-performance ratio is crucial.

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EASI’R: What can car dealers actively do then for an increased customer loyalty in the digital ages?

Car dealers need to evaluate their customer base. Knowing why a customer actually chose a particular dealership, knowing the purchase history and if a customer’s family situation has changed provides valuable insights for a strong positioning.

Dr. Endlein: Most important for the car dealers is the data quality of its own customer base. Car dealers must be able to give existing customers regular signals and they need to be able to activate them. We can see that successful dealerships are implementing this very well already. In addition, especially in the internet age, retailers need to become a strong brand themselves and need to position them accordingly. This is at least as important as the positioning of the brands they sell. However, I see most need for improvement in the evaluation of the customer base of dealers: many do not really know why a customer has chosen just their dealership, they do not know how the invoice history in their own database looks like, they don’t know if a customer’s family situation has changed, and so on. Exactly these information, however, can provide valuable insights for an even stronger market positioning.

EASI’R: The DAT Report 2018 finds a high degree of loyalty for the whole workshop/repair area; and it shows that the cost-benefit-ratio only plays a subordinate role. Can car dealerships learn something from car workshops?

Dr. Endlein: They can surely learn that dealers should not only see themselves as sellers, but as competent consultants around the vehicle, even after the purchase. The satisfaction with the workshops is so high, because the workshop actively solves problems and takes care of the emotional good car. It is also an advantage if the sales team in a dealership works closely together with the workshop department. Many sellers have reservations about showing customers the repair area because they think the customer does not care. In my opinion, exactly the opposite is the case: for the sharpening of the dealer brand, sellers should rather take their customers by the hand and show them the workshop.

The more touch points with customers, the better: Dealers should stay as close to the customer as possible and carefully evaluate if they really should outsource certain areas or rather provide additional services themselves.

EASI’R: There are some providers, e. g., Amazon, where customers can book a test drive online and then the car is conveniently delivered to the customer’s door for testing it. Is this the future?

Dr. Endlein: For the dealerships certainly not. The test drive is one of the strongest and most emotional tools car dealers possess, and they should not give that away. In the last few years, many dealers have already outsourced valuable opportunities for customer touchpoints, e. g., the whole subject wheel storage, processing or repairs of glass. Therefore, car dealers are well advised to look carefully which areas they can offer themselves, in order to stay closer to the customer. Especially the test drive is a pivotal point for the customer’s decision, and to give that away would be a mistake.

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Online booking offers are something that car dealers can learn from online players like Amazon

However, what third-party vendors can learn from those online players is the way of offering an online booking process, and so giving customers the ability to conveniently book an appointment that suits them best on their own from home for the test drive. And if the customer then shows up for the test drive in the showroom, the dealer should pay much attention to create a positive experience down to the smallest detail, from providing the vehicle in the rain under a roofing, to discussing the customer experience after a test drive.

Interested in learning more about EASI’R and how we help car dealers to bring every customer on the best winning sales path, while taking advantage of valuable insights from the customer data base? Then just request your free demo at www.easir.com/request-demo or contact us for further information at sales@easir.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Automotive News Europe awards EASI’R CEO & Co-founder

Automotive News Europe has awarded our EASI’R CEO and Co-founder Mikael Moeslund with the “Rising Star 2018”, during an award ceremony in Turin.

The judges honoured Mikael for having “a profile who has driven change, fostered innovation and made courageous decisions.”

 

Automotive News Europe Rising Star

All information about the award available here.

Interested in learning more about EASI’R and our new integration options? Then just request your free demo at www.easir.com/request-demo or contact us for further information at sales@easir.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Rethinking Automotive IT: Connect all Dealers’ Software Systems, for Maximum Efficiency

Launch: The new EASI’R integration options can unite all the various IT solutions used at car dealerships to create a one-system user experience. For the most efficient, seamless, and fastest workflows, let us explain to you how the new integration options work.

Does the following challenge regarding the use of IT solutions at car dealerships sound familiar to you? The workflows are slower and less efficient than they should be, simply because the various software solutions in place are unconnected, do not exchange data with each other, and do not offer the possibility for salespeople to work smoothly across the systems.

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Common consequences of these problems are: 

  • Time loss due to the need for manual data entries into various IT solutions
  • Severe data gaps in some of the systems resulting from the lack of communication between the solutions
  • Low motivation of the sales team to work with the software solutions due to the requirement for multiple logins and repeated data entries
  • Interrupted workflow within various isolated software solutions that are not logically linked to each other

In short, the workflow cannot unfold their full potential for efficiency, and dealers lose valuable time while customers are expecting faster and better interactions, especially online.

Our solution: EASI’R can now connect all external systems, such as CRM, DMS, or SWP solutions, with EASI’R lead management and sales acceleration software as the central link, to create a virtual one-system experience. In addition, EASI’R enriches the existing IT-set-up with its smart features for lead engagement, lead management, and sales acceleration. The end results are improved, smoother workflows, and faster, more efficient retail processes.

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Additional advantage: With the new integration, EASI’R also enables OEMs and NSCs to keep the already existing and well-proven systems used at dealerships (no need to change a running system for a complete new solution!) and helps make the IT landscape more efficient.

Two EASI’R integration options to choose from

1. EASI’R Embed 

The EASI’R Embed integration option enables a smart switching between any external software solution, e. g., your DMS, CRM, or SWP solutions, and EASI’R with all lead management and sales acceleration features.

  • EASI’R Embed can automatically suggest and start the switching process between various systems whenever a task involves working with two systems. The salesperson no longer needs to manually change the platform.

For example: A salesperson might use a SWP solution to set up a legal test drive agreement the customer must sign before hitting the road. The next logical step is to prepare and schedule a follow-up email to send to this customer—for example to send additional information right after the test drive. The salesperson cannot use his SWP system for this task, but usually uses a lead management solution (such as EASI’R).

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With EASI’R Embed, the EASI’R lead management screen would open automatically, suggesting all salespeople of the team in such a situation continue preparing the email. EASI’R will automatically take all relevant data (e. g., the name of customer and the car model for the test drive) from the SWP system into the lead management system. EASI’R will also automatically suggest a text template.

The only thing left for the salesperson to do is to check the information, see if he/she wants to add anything, and schedule the communication for a mailing date.

EASI’R thus ensures not only the interaction between systems, but also that all salespeople will follow a pre-set, promising sales path, and will not leave out any steps. OEMs and NSCs can freely define this sales path. 

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2. EASI’R Connect

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The EASI’R Connect integration option enables a two-sided automated data synchronization between EASI’R and the integrated solution, such as a SWP. For the end user it will feel like a single system. This option requires no extra logging in or finding the customer in the other software—it all happens automatically.

For our example above, this means: If a salesperson is working with a customer using the EASI’R lead management system and wants to register a test drive, he/she does not need to switch to the SWP software. Instead, EASI’R will open the test drive appointment section of the SWP system within the EASI’R dashboard and it will already have pre-filled all the relevant information (e. g., name and address of the customer) transferred from EASI’R.

When the salesperson is done planning the test drive appointment, he/she will automatically be redirected from the SWP window back to EASI’R. Then EASI’R will pull the data from the test drive appointment from the connected SWP solution and present it to the salesperson in a pre-filled form. The salesperson will need only to confirm the follow-up method and planned tasks that EASI’R automatically suggests.

Interested in learning more about EASI’R and our new integration options? Then just request your free demo at www.easir.com/request-demo or contact us for further information at sales@easir.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Case Study: Jaguar Land Rover/British Car Import A/S

Implementing EASI’R for Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in Scandinavia: Bridging the gap between online and offline processes in automotive retail

The client

The client, British Car Import A/S (BCI), is the main importer of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. BCI is ensuring the coverage of the Nordic markets for Jaguar and Land Rover in line with brand identity and corporate standards, set by the manufacturer’s headquarters in the UK. Selling premium car brands, BCI has a strong focus on ensuring high standards regarding customer experience and service.

Business situation

The business plan for British Car Import A/S includes the growth target to increase their dealership network in Scandinavia by 100 % within the next three years, to gain more market share. This growth plan is closely connected to the planned launch of electric premium vehicles in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.

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As a NSC, British Car Import A/S reports to the Jaguar Land Rover manufacturer in the UK, which has, by the beginning of 2017, established new processes to ensure coherent quality standards regarding customer service and experience across all dealerships and countries.

BCI now needs to fulfill the following requirements:

Detailed performance reports to Jaguar Land Rover in the UK, which include insights into the major online and offline lead sources for Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles in the Nordics and on the average response time to customer’s requests

 All leads need to be responded to within 4 hours (Opening hours)

 If a lead is flagged as a lost lead (Purchase rejection reason), then this lead is handed over to a lead agency that will try to reactivate this lead

Business need

To fulfill the requirements of the manufacturer and to realize their three-year growth plan, British Car Import A/S have decided that they need a professional lead-management software solution for all dealerships in the Nordics.

Major business need for BCI was to find a solution that would help them with the fact that customers in the automotive sector in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, these days are far more digital than the retail industry is.

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ONLINE & OFFLINE

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The Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in the Nordics were still highly focused on serving customers who visit a showroom, but they were lacking a tool that would allow them to transfer the same premium service to their official online appearance – even though the customers already complete most of their research online alone. In addition, BCI needed a tool that would enable them to generate regular reports to the manufacturer, based on Big Data analytics.

Against this background, BCI’s expectations towards a lead-management software included:

Enabling them to bridge the gap between online and offline worlds in automotive retail

 Enabling them to pick up customers already conducting their online research at home in front of their tablets, smartphones and computers, and guide them to the dealerships for a test drive

⇒ Ensuring immediate follow-up processes on customers who have sent an online request to a Jaguar Land Rover dealership in the Nordics and minimizing the response time – as fast responses increase the chances to win the customer

⇒ Generating quick and detailed reports, for valuable insights into the retail processes: For the manufacturer’s needs, for BCI’s needs, for the NSC’s needs, for their dealerships and for the different business roles in dealerships

Challenges

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British Car Import A/S needed to overcome three major challenges regarding the implementation of a professional lead-management software:

  1. Ensuring that all necessary data is delivered
  2. Ensuring the user acceptance of the dealership teams in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark
  3. Quick implementation process within only a few weeks

Solution

British Car import chose EASI’R, a cloud-based SaaS solution, as their lead-management solution for all Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, for the following reasons:

⇒ Automotive specific lead-management solution

 Coherent solution for bridging the gap between online and offline worlds in automotive retail

 Expertise in premium car brands

 Fast implementation process from scoping to go-live within 6 weeks

Fast and easy onboarding process for sales people and dealership managers, via a social media like experience, the EASI’R in-app guidance, and through an intuitive modern user experience

 Desktop and mobile solution, all devices supported

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EASI’R has gone live for all Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark in April 2017 and is now fulfilling the following functions for BCI:

Collecting leads from all official Jaguar Land Rover online lead sources in the Nordics in real time in one single platform, plus sales people being able to store and process leads from the dealerships, trade shows and events here (“offline world”)

 Enabling processing of all types of leads in real-time, directly from the EASI’R platform

 Equipping all sales people with the EASI’R app, available for smartphones, smartwatches and tablets to enable notifications about new leads in real-time and to enable lead follow-ups in real time from anywhere – which further shortens reaction times

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How EASI’R helped BCI to overcome the initial three challenges:

Challenge 1, ensuring that all necessary data is delivered to the dealerships via EASI’R, was solved with the EASI’R connect engine/API, which enables a smooth data transmission between all data sources of BCI and EASI’R

 Challenge 2, to ensure the acceptance amongst the end users of the software, EASI’R offered a specific EASI’R onboarding program which demonstrated the easy usage and clearly pointed out the advantages for every single sales person in their daily working life. The EASI’R in-app guidance and the social media like user experience further contributed to strengthen user acceptance. All in all, the Jaguar Land Rover dealerships have been on a good way to support user acceptance from day one on, with more and more progress

⇒ Challenge 3, the requirement for quick implementation within only a few weeks, is a USP of EASI’R and could be fulfilled within only 6 weeks

Outcome/Benefits

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Six months after the implementation of EASI’R for all Jaguar Land Rover dealerships in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, British Car Import A/S has achieved the following outcomes:

Before the implementation of EASI’R, 60 % of all leads were followed up on within 4 hours, with those 4 hours being the Jaguar Land Rover standard

Six months after the implementation, already 80 % of all leads are followed up on within 4 hours

 All necessary reports for the manufacturer can be delivered by BCI

About EASI’R

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EASI’R is the leading cloud relations platform for the international automotive industry. EASI’R is being used by more than 2,600 dealerships all over Europe, amongst them TOYOTA Germany, BMW Denmark, Jaguar Land Rover Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, and eBay motors Denmark.

Learn more about the complete feature portfolio, e. g., about the automated relations function that allows salespeople to create emails and text messages to customers directly in the system, using pre-planned texts and layouts for every step during the customer journey to help dealerships securing the deal by being the fastest to follow up on customers – online and offline.

Interested to learn more about EASI’R? Check our website at www.easir.com, request a demo at www.easir.com/request-demo or contact us for further information at sales@easir.com. 

Meet our customers: BMW & Mini

One of our customers in Scandinavia is BMW Denmark. With the automotive lead management solution EASI’R, we help BMW and Mini adjusting retail structures to increasingly digital customers. Read our “flash case study” and see what Signe Winther, CRM & Online Marketing Specialist at BMW Denmark, says about the improvements made since her team has implemented EASI’R for BMW and Mini!

Hi Signe, with which specific challenges is EASI’R helping you?

Signe: For us, the greatest challenge is to achieve transparency regarding leads and retail processes, from internet lead sources and also from the dealership. EASI’R is now helping us to gain the needed transparency for BMW and MINI in Denmark by delivering detailed insights and comprehensive statistics on all leads. We can now better see what exactly is happening with the leads, and when something exactly is happening, and how the conversion rate develops. With these insights, we can pin out the areas where we are strong and also those areas where we might need to adjust processes to achieve optimal results.

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What has improved since you are working with EASI’R?

Signe: Since we have implemented EASI’R, our retail processes run much smoother. EASI’R has enabled us to establish a professional lead management setup, we were lacking this before. One great advantage for us is also that we can now collect all our leads in one source and easily add new leads and sources from our many business aspects, such as our End of Term leasing customers.

Which specific demands and expectations do you have in terms of a lead management software?

Signe: For us at BMW and MINI, two aspects were crucial regarding the decision for a lead management provider:

  • Data security is the ruling key principle for every step we make at BMW and MINI. Therefore, we needed to find a lead management solution that fulfills our high standards regarding data security. On a related note, also full compliance with the GDPR was relevant for our decision.
  • It was also decisive to implement a lead management software solution that has extensive reporting functions. In EASI’R, we can set up custom-made reports for all different roles within the retail organization. That means that we can pre-define relevant reports for salespeople, for dealership managers, admins or the area managers.

Want to learn more about EASI’R and our lead management, sales and relationship acceleration set-up? And did you already know that our Connect engine allows the integration with any other software system already used – like CRM, DMS or SWP systems?

Learn more at our website www.easir.com or reach out to us directly at sales@easir.com 

EASI’R and the GDPR

For all companies handling customer data and doing business within the European Union, including us at EASI’R, the GDPR is an important topic these days. In this interview with EASI’R Co-founder Jakob Knudsen, we will shed some light on the GDPR in general, and also on EASI’R’s approach and commitment to ensuring compliance to it—both as a company, as well as with our Automotive Sales and Relationship Acceleration Software. 

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Jakob, starting with the basics, could you briefly explain what the GDPR is?

Jakob: The GDPR—the General Data Protection Act—is a new data protection law in the European Union, and it is certainly considered to be the most crucial piece of EU data protection legislation in 20 years. It will become effective and enforceable on the 25th of May 2018. Essentially, the GDPR regulates the processing of personal data about individuals in the EU, including its collection, storage, transfer and use.

Because the GDPR is a real milestone within the EU, we at EASI’R are currently investing a lot of time and effort into guaranteeing compliance with the GDPR by the deadline in May 2018—just like all the other companies that are currently active within the EU. For us, as an Automotive Sales and Relationship Acceleration Software provider that handles a lot of data every day, GDPR compliance is a top priority.

And what is the actual idea behind or purpose of the GDPR?

Jakob: In short, this law is meant to give individuals control over their data and to grant them more rights regarding the information they provide online.

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Speaking about EASI’R, how is EASI’R specifically preparing to ensure compliance with the GDPR?

Jakob: We have a detailed step-by-step action plan to ensure compliance with the GDPR. We have prepared a clearly-timed roadmap that has been set up in close cooperation with lawyers and external consultants—we provide an overview of our complete roadmap for achieving GDPR compliance on our website.

The GDPR is very important for us, since EASI’R provides a software solution designed to handle a huge amount of data, in order to accelerate sales and relationships in automotive retail. Since our customers entrust us with their data, we have always—long before the GDPR was tabled—strived to achieve the highest level of data security possible. Given this background, one crucial milestone for us was the ISO 27001 certification that we obtained in 2016, which was renewed in 2017. In addition, we store all our data within the EU, on servers in Germany, so we have already imposed very strict rules related to data. We really welcome the GDPR and consider it a crucial step in terms of unifying the rules within the EU.

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What are the implications of the GDPR for EASI’R customers?

Jakob: The most important aspect is that our customers ensure that their Terms of Service or Privacy Policy clearly and correctly communicate to their users how they are employing EASI’R’s technology on their website or app. This requirement has always been part of EASI’R’s Terms, but the GDPR can heavily penalize those who are not properly fulfilling this requirement. We recommend our customers ensure that their policies are up to date and clear for their readers—this means using language that is understandable to everyone. The use of transparent language is part of the GDPR to ensure that users understand what they are giving consent to and how their data is processed.

But, as a final point, I want to make it clear that each situation, jurisdiction and customer is unique. I would always recommend a consultation with a lawyer to clarify all relevant implications with regard to any data processing software, including EASI’R’s.

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INFO BOX: KEY CHANGES REGARDING GDPR

Expanded rights for individuals: The GDPR grants individuals in the EU expanded rights, e.g., the right to data deletion and the right to request a copy of any personal data stored by an organization.

Compliance obligations: The GDPR requires that companies/organizations implement appropriate policies and security protocols, keep detailed records on their data activities, conduct privacy impact assessments and make written agreements with vendors.  

Data breach notification & security: The GDPR demands that organizations report certain data breaches to data protection authorities, and under certain circumstances, also notify the affected individuals. 

Profiling and monitoring: The GDPR establishes new obligations for organizations engaged in profiling or monitoring the behavior of EU individuals. 

Stricter enforcement: The GDPR enables authorities to demand high fines in the case of breach, which can be more than 20 million Euros or 4% of a company’s annual global revenue, depending on how serious the breach is and the resulting damage.

If you have any questions regarding EASI’R and the GDPR, please don’t hesitate to contact us at gdpr@easir.com.

 

How to Provide Automotive Online Leads a First Class Experience

Three tips from EASI’R on how to provide the same excellent service to online leads, that customers in the showroom receive! 

A lot of managers in automotive, responsible for retail or customer relations, are struggling with the following conflict that slows down sales processes: Though online lead sources are getting more and more important, they do not receive the same excellent service and attention that is standard in a good showroom. Whereas in a showroom customers are served right away, online leads often need to wait days until they receive a reply – and the content is often neither tailor-made nor truly helpful. Often, the lead never receives a follow-up.

Facts: Today, an estimated 65 % of all potential buyers start the purchase process on their smartphone and more than 90 % research additional information about their future car online (Source: Frost & Sullivan). Extra fact: The study from Frost & Sullivan estimates that in 2023, more than 70 % of all leads will come from online sources. The data clearly indicates: A good plan on how to improve the treatment of online leads is key to success and future car sales.

But how can you improve the customer service online and support potential car buyers on their journey to acquire a car from your brand? EASI’R has compiled three tips on how to accelerate automotive sales and relationships from a lead management perspective!

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1. Enable dealerships to take customer wishes online as seriously as they do it in the showroom.

If a customer walks into a dealership, the standard procedure is to give him a warm welcome, take his jacket, offer him a coffee, sit down and talk about his wishes. In short; in the showroom, sales people invest time to provide a pleasant experience and to discuss the customers’ preferences – which builds trust, a sustainable relationship and increases the likelihood of selling the car. However, customers who reach out to dealerships online often do not experience the same attention. How to solve that?

⇒ Collect all available information that each online lead brings along. Such as age, preferred model, preferred colour, wished extras, location of residence, and store that information to be able to retrieve it afterwards. Motivate dealerships to use that information to tailor conversations and offers to the customer. The customer will appreciate this service!

⇒ Enable dealerships to follow up in real time: By equipping dealerships with a mobile solution that will notify salespeople about a new incoming lead immediately via an app on their smartwatches, tablets or smartphones. With the app, salespeople can also start the follow-up process in seconds. This procedure ensures that no customer is left waiting for hours or even days to get a reply on his request.

⇒ Give dealerships access to a customer’s research and purchase history: Has the customer bought another car before at your place? What was his budget? What was his family status? A good, automotive-specific lead management software that covers all steps of the car buyer’s specific journey will ease the work – and so help salespeople to make outstanding offers.

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2. Lower the technical barriers.

The shift from a showroom focused customer service to the new online buying experience is a challenge not only on the level of OEMs, manufacturers and dealership groups, but also for each individual salesperson. If you want to succeed with new technical solutions, it is crucial to keep the end user’s (=salespeople in dealerships) needs in mind. Often, there is a general skepticism towards new technical solutions like an automotive lead management software, and the usage rates will remain low without a clear structure of how to empower their adaption. Therefore: Try to think as salespeople, anticipate their challenges and find a way to lower the barriers for the usage of IT solutions within retail. How?

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⇒ Combine different IT solutions with an “Embed” solution and make data entry easier. With the increase of digitalization, dealerships have to work with many different IT solutions that cover specific areas of the retail process. One example: The contracts and legal framework is prepared in a salesman’s workplace, but for further work on the customer journey, salespeople need to open their lead management or CRM dashboard and enter the same data again. Two logins -> two rounds of data entry -> inconvenient -> lost time -> low motivation = lost data. This is a common chain reaction.

⇒ With the new EASI’R “Embed”, different IT solutions can easily be linked together. If a salesperson has, for example, just prepared the legal framework for a test drive on his salesmen’s workplace dashboard, a pop up window from EASI’R will open and will present that salesperson a form that has already been filled in via an automatic function. This way, all information from the legal preparation in the salesmen’s workplace will also be made available in the EASI’R dashboard, so that no data is lost in the system and the salesperson can conveniently continue his work on the lead management part of the planned test drive.

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3. Find a tool that increases efficiency in dealerships – with automated functions.

As mentioned above, providing a great customer service is also a matter of the right timing. A customer who has to wait for a longer time will turn away and look for support at a faster dealership – and is eventually lost as a disappointed customer forever. However, for the dealership management and for salespeople, being quick, especially with online leads, is a true challenge. Today, on top of the customers walking into the showroom each day, they also need to handle hundreds of online leads. Efficiency is the key to success – enabled easily by automatization functions:

⇒ Equip dealerships with a software that has a function to automate tasks. With this feature, salespeople can easily keep customers in the loop and answer a lot of requests at the same time. The lead management or CRM solution you chose should have a great stock of pre-planned emails including professional layouts for different purposes, e. g. for a test drive confirmation, for a reply to a brochure request or a congratulation email for birthdays.

⇒ Consider a lead management, sales and relationship accelerating software that also allows to pre-plan tasks. This way, you make it more likely that all tasks are really followed up on time, e. g. that a brochure request is followed by an offer for a test drive, shortly after the brochure was sent.

Want to learn more about the EASI’R lead management, sales- and relations acceleration features? Get in touch at demo@easir.com or check our website at www.easir.com

by Rasmus Helbo

Let’s Accelerate Sales – with the help of our EASI’R Support team!

Our top 4 of most frequently asked questions to the Customer Support team for Lead-management

Using a lead-management software like EASI’R sounds challenging for users that have not worked with this type of business software before. However, it can actually do a really great job to help car salespeople sell more cars in a shorter period of time and to ease them of all those tiny manual daily tasks, so that they can fully concentrate on their core competencies: Talking to customers, figuring out their needs and wishes and to close the contract in the end!

Let’s get an impression of the convenient usage of EASI’R and read the top 4 most frequently asked questions by our end-users who start working with EASI’R, answered by our experts, the international EASI’R Support team!

Most frequently asked question 1:   
Does EASI’R have a feature to send automated emails?

We often get this question asked by our end-users, because they are concerned with staying in touch with a variety of customers during a busy work day. To take stress off, EASI’R offers a feature called Automated relations. While creating activities in the system, the user can set up a communication strategy, which will be executed either hours or days after the last contact. This way, the car dealer can be sure that communication with the customer stays in a constant flow and he does not have to waste time and resources handling manual work.

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Most frequently asked question 2:
How can I personalize, for example, emails in EASI’R?

Due to increasing digitalization, leads today are often generated via sources like car configurators or online test drive requests, which can be a bit impersonal for the customer. So, for the first initial contact, it is important to formulate emails in a more personal fashion. EASI’R offers different options to give communication a more personal touch. One of the first steps that we recommend taking, when a new dealer is starting to work with EASI’R, is to set up the signature and to add a picture. This way, the customer gets a more personal impression when getting contacted by the car dealer for the first time. Additionally, pre-written templates can help the car dealer to simplify communications.

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Most frequently asked question 3:
I am often outside of the dealership hosting test drives or making deliveries. Is there an EASI’R app so I can work on my leads outside of the dealership?

EASI’R offers an app for iOS and for Android. It supports different platforms like smartwatches, smartphones, and tablets. This way, the car dealer can manage leads and communication in real-time, never missing out on a new incoming lead. The app enables them to see and act on customer requests from anywhere, any time, independent of their physical presence in the office. This is especially important since customers today expect a very fast follow-up on their requests. During their online research, they might have sent the same request to different dealerships and whichever is the fastest to follow-up, is very likely to win the lead.

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Most frequently asked question 4:
Is it possible to integrate social media into EASI’R?

EASI’R supports a Social media integration feature, incorporating publicly available data from customers’ social media profiles into the system. As soon as the salesperson creates a new contact in EASI’R, the system scans all publicly available data in platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn and compares it to the data in EASI’R. If there is a match, the profiles will be linked in EASI’R. The data found online is valuable information for the salesperson, as they can now custom-make the communication towards the consumer. If a customer, for example, has two children, the salesperson is more likely to present a family-friendly car based on the information found in social media and can increase the chances of success.  With the Social media integration feature, salespeople can get to know their customers a bit better from the available online information – even though they have not yet met in person.

social-media-integration-german-mockupBy Nina Falkenreck, German Customer Support Manager 

 

 

 

Designing Software for the Automotive Retail Industry

An Interview with the EASI’R Product team!

Ensuring an outstanding user experience and optimal usability is essential for us at EASI’R. Our philosophy: An automotive lead-management solution needs to be designed in such a way, that salespeople in dealerships experience a significant ease on their daily work flow and a strong increase in efficiency. It needs to be designed in such a way that they understand how the software works immediately and enjoy using it each and every day.

In order to ensure all this, we have a special Product team at EASI’R, consisting of User Experience Designers, User Interface Designers and Graphic Designers, who work on ensuring an optimal usability and user experience of EASI’R lead-management SaaS every day. In close cooperation with our 2,600+ customers and 16,000+ users, the Product team works on providing features that really make a difference and help our customers to improve their retail processes.

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Get an insight into the work of our EASI’R Product team in this interview with our great
Product Designer Jonas Techen – and get to know how the team is working on designing a software for the automotive industry!

 

Jonas, the Automotive industry is a very heterogenous industry, currently changing rapidly by digitalization. What is your most challenging design process?

Jonas: One of the greatest challenges is designing a tool that provides value across different positions in automotive retail organizations, while preserving a coherent and unified experience for all of our users. Thus, we do not only consider the needs of car salespeople, but at the same time we also consider the needs of Sales managers in a dealership, of regional managers, and of administrators. They all have different workflows, purposes and expectations when interacting with EASI’R. Embracing this difference, and its interconnected nature, is always the end goal of our design efforts.

Another closely connected challenge is to understand the specific context in which a lead-management software like EASI’R is used, in order to evaluate if a certain feature is deemed to be valuable in the complex automotive retail process. Take the car salesperson’s use of EASI’R as an example. What step of the car salesperson’s workflow are we trying to empower? Is the car salesperson trying to overcome multiple tasks simultaneously? Is the collaboration with a colleague necessary? Is the car salesperson situated in a busy showroom, or quiet office? What type of device is appropriate in a given situation? A smartphone? A desktop computer? A smartwatch? All these questions, amongst many others, need to be answered in order to turn numerous digital features into one useful and appropriate experience.

Jonas: “We believe that the first 10 minutes of  using a lead-management solution is paramount to the decision-making of deeming it worthwile.

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What are the key aspects you work on to maximize the usability?

Jonas: As Product designers, we always go to great lengths to keep our understanding of the automotive retail process aligned with reality. These efforts dictate how the platform is shaped, both in terms of usability and experience. As an example: When we release new functionalities for the automatic reports that users can create in EASI’R, we need to make sure that this matches with the  performance indicators of automotive salespeople – namely their sales targets. This feature is also a great example of how different positions in the same automotive retail process are expecting different outcomes, when interacting with EASI’R: A Sales manager expects a tool to lead the Sales team towards a common sales target by problem solving, and the car salesperson expects a tool to motivate and embrace the competitive aspect of sales – while both are seeking improvement in sales. It is the Product team’s responsibility to meet these expectations across the many different use cases and scenarios.

A common challenge for many lead-management solutions is to convince the users to indeed use the software on a daily basis. How do you cope with that challenge?

Jonas: We believe that the first 10 minutes of using a product is paramount to the decision-making of deeming it worthwhile. Our approach is to show the purpose of using EASI’R as fast as possible – why should you, as a car salesperson for example, invest time in yet another tool? The answer lies in showing the value gained, by using EASI’R in your workflow, and show how that value can be obtained. A car salesperson wants to know how EASI’R can be used to acquire new customers or stay up-to-date with an existing customer journey. A Sales manager wants to know how EASI’R can provide an overview of the team’s obstacles, and ensure that different common targets are met. We show these values to the different users, by setting up automated processes that guide them through the EASI’R interface, while at the same time, working with it themselves – turning a novice user into an experienced user, by empowering them. We also put a lot of effort into designing the onboarding experience of new users, and as a end goal encourage self-exploration of the EASI’R interface.

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How do you validate your design – what is the exact process to get customer feedback and check if your concept works?

Jonas: Validating a design solution is continuously done throughout the entire design process, hence there is no final step of the design process where we validate in isolation. We strive towards embracing a mentality where our users, such as car salespeople and Sales managers, are seen as participants of the design process. Typically, this is done by inviting users to interact with the unfinished proposed design solution, through a prototype with an appropriate amount of details. Afterwards, we discuss and brainstorm on the proposed solution with the users and adjust it accordingly. This process is conducted several times until the result meets the expectations of our users. Validation also happens indirectly through qualitative interviews, where we focus on how the individual user perceives the automotive retail process, instead of interacting with a prototype. Knowing what method to use, and when, is very important to make the design process successful.

Interested in getting to know EASI’R? Learn more about the system at www.easir.com or directly request your personal demo by getting in touch with us at demo@easir.com We are looking forward to hearing from you!