Auto Talk at CitNOW Group
Auto Talk at CitNOW Group

Meeting the ZEV targets in 2024 - an enquiry management advantage


Following on from our last Auto Talk article, designed to provide support to retailers working to meet the ZEV challenge using video, this time the focus is on the sales process and creating an enquiry management advantage.

Naturally, generating Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) leads and converting them successfully to support OEMs hit their targets will be essential for many retailers. Success represents a compelling opportunity to work ever closer with OEMs for mutual benefit.

At the heart of this success, speed of response to enquiries is sure to feature. By being responsive and informative, retailers can address those extra questions rapidly, about driving and using a BEV day to day that are so common, to accelerate customer’s decision making, something we know is taking longer for BEV purchases. In this article a series of best practice opportunities are showcased.

Creating a sales process and enquiry management advantage

Within the CitNOW Group ecosystem, Dealerweb stands out as a sales enquiry and lead management platform that can help retailers embrace the ZEV challenge positively.

Built by people with showroom experience, Dealerweb talks retailer’s language and brings many sales processes together in one place, creating processes and controls that help drive productivity, compliance and results. Of particular note are the efficiencies in time, data accuracy and the removal of data duplication that are available. All these gains can be realised through the integrations supported by Dealerweb’s technology. In turn, this tighter data control enhances GDPR compliance and reduces exposure to customer Personally Identifiable Information (PII) risks, which sadly have become increasingly prevalent in recent years.

Another area where Dealerweb’s integrations can help retailers is with CitNOW Sales. It can support the focus on BEV sales by enabling retailers to send video communication from Dealerweb’s Showroom platform to showcase BEVs features and benefits and highlight the way a BEV operates to demystify buyer questions. In addition, the platform can integrate with other retailer systems, such as DMS, car aggregators, F&I partners and compliance providers, while Dealerweb’s real-time reporting facility provides a comprehensive analysis of productivity and profitability levels.

Driving sales

Dealerweb’s platform makes communicating with a selected customer or prospect group from the Showroom database easy. As an example, the new parity calculator, Equicalc, is ideal to target finance customers, whose agreement might be coming to an end, or may be able to consider changing car before the end of their agreement into a BEV.

The platform has built-in systems to help ensure GDPR compliance when managing customer records, creating audit logs, recording marketing preferences and much more along Finance integrations that are FCA compliant for an efficient sales process throughout the customer journey

Enquiry builder

The current evidence regarding BEV sales is that customers require more help and support before making a purchase decision. Thanks to the productivity benefits the platform offers, retailers using Dealerweb Showroom can gain the extra time they need to help these BEV buyers.

Simplifying processes and removing time-consuming consumer rework help to create additional time that enables sales personnel to provide the more focused, personalised experiences that BEV buyers are seeking. The productivity improvement also helps sales staff respond to contacts more quickly and keeps the buying journey running smoothly.

Dealerweb Showroom makes it possible to quantify the scale of the difference these time savings can make to a retailer’s bottom line. Real-time management reporting can allow staff to identify areas of success and potential improvement areas. It can also help them understand how the extra time they have to respond to customers gives them a better chance of converting interest into sales.

From initial sales enquiry, through the diary and follow-up module which ensures that all leads are contacted promptly as and when promised and by linking together other platforms integrated with Dealerweb Showroom, data capture rework and errors are avoided, as is the frustration that can be created for customers.

Managers can oversee all planned sales staff activity in one simple screen, ensuring that all customer promises are kept, and opportunities are not missed.

And there is more…

Creating sales leads is just the first step in the Dealerweb customer buying journey. Having created awareness of the retailer’s range of BEVs and sufficient interest to make an enquiry, the platform is there to facilitate the customer’s journey hand in hand with the sales executives with a rigorous, controlled process that helps to create the type of good customer outcome that works for them and retailer alike

Just contact us to discover more about how the Dealerweb journey can make exceeding those ZEV targets a bit easier.

Next in this ZEV retailer and OEM support series will be the role of data and digital communications.

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Accelerate aftersales: insights to optimise efficiency

In today’s rapidly changing marketplace it may be time for some fresh thinking to energise your aftersales approach. Read on for our best practice tips to help optimise performance and efficiency.

Understand the current reality 

The essential first step for an aftersales team to improve its performance is understanding how good it is currently. This is where RTC Insights benchmarking, and its breadth of data, is invaluable.

RTC Insights tracks and analyses data across all retailer departments, including aftersales. What is evident from the analysis we see is that the success of top performers in aftersales is never reliant on one single factor; it is about optimising all of the moving parts in the process—marginal gain opportunities are often available everywhere to improve aftersales efficiency and customer engagement.

The knowledge delivered by benchmarking enables retailers to see where performance can be enhanced with training and greater management focus, or by considering new approaches or technologies. Additionally, and often crucially, retailers recognise the potential of refining their KPIs to increase accountability.

eVHCs – an opportunity for improvement

One immediate area in which to realise the potential of marginal gains, based on current data, is eVHCs.

Data from RTC Aftersales eVHC product reveals that the average value of Red and Amber work identified by eVHCs continues to rise, following a long-term trend identified by the business. Looking at data from January 2024, Red work identified rose 14.54% year on year to £301.24 per job. Much higher than inflation. It indicates that more or higher-value faults are being identified, something which could be linked to the ageing parc that has emerged over recent years.

Sadly, conversions of this Red work fell by 3.7% to 46.4% from 48.2% in January 2023. It means that over half of identified Red work is available to be converted to workshop activity. This overall market conversion position needs to be assessed at a local level, but the sheer scale of the overall market position will mean that most retailers will find themselves looking at a significant opportunity for improvement.

The six steps in optimising eVHCs are;

Step 1: The optimal time to complete an eVHC

Step 2: Recording eVHC report outcomes

Step 3: Getting the right person for the right job

Step 4: Authenticity – being accurate and clear

Step 5: Engaging with customer openly about repairs

Step 6: Committing to continuous improvement

Optimising the eVHC process

Analysis from RTC indicates that to complete a full eVHC check efficiently and accurately takes fifteen minutes. Taking longer does not identify additional problems with a car to be addressed. On the other hand, completing a check too quickly risks missing safety/reliability issues that the customer needs to be aware exist.

The time to complete an eVHC is an important metric that workshop managers can use to enhance productivity.

Recording outcomes

Productivity gains are available for retailers that understand their own conversion levels and record accurately why customers opt not to have identified work undertaken. Essentially, this data analysis helps retailers to understand performance opportunity gaps, and the customer issues, or concerns that need to be addressed, enabling the business to enhance conversions.

Recent research suggests that cost and a lack of understanding about the need for a repair are likely to be issues. Another factor could be staffing or a skills shortage, wherein the aftersales team’s technicians are not being allocated to work that reflects their expertise, or conversion of available work is not being pursued because the resources are being focused only on high value work.

The right person on the job

Correct job allocation is crucial to aftersales productivity. RTC Insights data reveals that workshops that utilise 90-100% of technicians’ time effectively generate, on average, £35,000 per year more revenue from Red and Amber work when compared to workshops utilising only 50-75% of technicians’ time well.

Success in utilisation is a two-step process: Generating leads to keep technicians busy and ensuring the most appropriate team member completes booked jobs to maximise productivity. Where this job allocation by skill level is implemented, it can be appropriate to recruit the right resource for lower value work to increase overall conversions, for example, recruiting a dedicated tyre specialist can free other technicians to focus on complex, often higher-value work.

The right person for the job will enhance workshop management and efficiency.

Authenticity

Communicating Red work issues to customers is most effective when it puts their needs first. Safety, car reliability and the potential enhancement of a car’s value are all worthy of discussion. Additionally, explaining the importance of addressing identified Red work to manufacturer standard to support a car’s warranty and any finance terms and conditions, should not be overlooked. They are conditions that the customer may not know exist; ensuring they are aware of such a position enables them to make an informed decision.

Utilising personalised video to build trust and show the work required whilst using simple, easy to understand language will enhance the retailers’ authenticity.

Making eVHCs more engaging for customers

Building on the principle of authenticity and supporting informed customer decision making, improving customer engagement in the eVHC process is crucial. It starts by alerting them to the check at the service desk check-in. Letting the customer know that a full safety check will be completed on their car removes or mitigates the ‘cost shock’ if an issue is identified.

A proven tool for enhancing customer engagement whether there are any problems identified or not is video.

Data from retailers using CitNOW Workshop’s video capability to bring identified faults to life reveals that using video to explain the need to act on Red work outperforms static images or no media by 11%. Average Red work conversion rates increased from 45% to 50%.

A technician’s personalised video brings faults to life and addresses any questions, confusion, or misgivings a customer may have about the accuracy of an identified dangerous situation.

Our data reveals that 68% of work is authorised in under 30 minutes when sent with a video, so not only does the video visually highlight the condition of the vehicle it can speed up authorisation of work which will make for a more efficient workshop.

Next step to improvement

For retailers on their eVHC optimisation journey, embedding a continuous improvement approach is essential. For others, it starts with assessing current performance levels.

Discover more about how CitNOW Workshop’s video capability and RTC Insights’ benchmarking service can help you optimise efficiency in your aftersales process.

CitNOW Group appoints new CEO to drive growth and innovation

CitNOW Group has announced changes to its senior leadership team, with Geoffrey Page-Morris moving into the role of Deputy Chairman position and Boris Huard taking on the position of CitNOW Group CEO.

Leading CitNOW Group, Boris Huard joins the business on 4th March 2024, bringing with him over two decades of experience in the international technology sector. His first ten years were dedicated to consulting and integration businesses, followed by a decade in software, data and analytics. In his most recent role at GBG Plc, Boris led the global strategy, overseeing product teams, and driving innovation. Under his leadership, the company experienced significant growth and heightened customer satisfaction, marked by the successful global launch of pioneering products.

Commenting on these changes, Gavin Lyons, Chair of the Board, CitNOW Group, commented: “I have absolute confidence that Boris’s proficiency, insight, and extensive experience will be pivotal in propelling CitNOW Group through its next phase of growth, strategically positioning the company for further expansion. CitNOW Group has thrived under Geoffrey’s leadership during a period of evolution for the motor retail sector, marked by a shift towards electrification, the emergence of the agency sales model, and a growing reliance on digital customer interactions. Boris is poised to further enhance the Group’s strategic vision, which will ensure we navigate these industry shifts and also help the sector redefine the consumer experience.”

Boris brings a wealth of experience and commitment that will help CitNOW Group accelerate its success and deliver on its vision to provide market-leading automotive solutions that drive efficiencies, seamlessly transforming every customer moment.