What comes to mind when you envision the digital future of dealerships? Robotic shop techs? Drone-delivered parts? Flying machinery?
Maybe these are visions of a dealership in the more distant future. But the foundation is being laid today with autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence (A.I.), and the Internet of Things (IoT). These digital advancements are changing how you sell, service, and support equipment.
They’re also paving the way for dealerships of the future.
While technology may change, customers will still want the same thing – the best value for their money. We’ve identified 3 ways you can use versatile dealership technologies to give your customers an exceptional customer experience that is ready for the digital future.
Click to Jump Ahead:
- How do I connect today with the customer of tomorrow?
- Why should I invest in automation at my dealership?
- What kind of technology can I use to save myself and customers time?
1. Connect Today with the Customer of Tomorrow
Customers are increasingly looking toward autonomous machinery to boost their productivity. The reality is that customers will only become more tech-savvy and fluid with their decision-making.
Customer retention starts with integrated management of your sales, service, and parts departments. Importantly, service – not brand – has greater influence on customer loyalty. Your teams will need to be more informed and responsive when it comes to communicating with customers.
Nowadays, customers begin their search for equipment online. They expect businesses to have an online presence, including an up-to-date website, active Facebook and Google Business pages, and website chat buttons.
The results of the 2022 PwC Customer Loyalty Survey show that unless businesses can provide the same positive experience online as they do in person, more than half of consumers will not be loyal to that business. Those numbers were highest for Generation Z (69%) and Millennial (57%) consumers.
In other words, you’ll need to be better than Google as a trusted resource for your customers.
Use Digital Tools to Keep Customers in the Loop
“Technology like mobile apps, SMS, and self-service portals have become standard for a lot of industries. And customers, especially Millennials and Gen Z expect them.”
– Shane Waldemar, General Manager, DIS
Keeping customers in the loop about repair updates and sales quotes is critical today, but brevity and timeliness of those interactions will be even more essential in the future. Texting and direct messaging are proven tools that increase interaction efficiency with customers.
Mobile access to a digitized inventory of parts and equipment is another expectation younger generations of customers will have for your dealership.
Customer portals allow your customers to retrieve internal invoices and statements and let them connect directly with your service department and salespeople.
The ability of your service team to digitally check parts availability and place special parts orders on-the-go for customers further strengthens your reputation as a responsive dealership.
One of the biggest trends we are seeing is the expansion of doing business outside the walls of the dealership. Therefore, the need for mobile applications will continue to be key for improving dealership performance.
This will allow the dealership more flexibility in their overall service offering, whether it be creating work orders, tracking time, taking pictures, sending messages, and/or getting signatures.
– Shane Waldemar, General, DIS
Read Next: Digital Tools to Help Transform Each Part of Your Dealership’s Service Department
2. Invest in Automation – Your Customers Are
Dealerships today are utilizing metrics to track and measure their team’s success. But dealerships are rapidly becoming more automated, adaptable, and customized. So too will the salesperson and service technician of the future to stay competitive and current.
Customers are increasingly comfortable with automation integrated into their ag equipment and the depth of data it delivers. Dealers can further enhance that comfort by automating internal processes to simplify the tracking and storing of customer information.
Quickly reference details including recent and past purchases, payments, service and rental history, and last contact date for any department or location.
Data is Power
Data is influencing the daily decision-making of your customers in the field. The digital future of your dealership will require the same application of accurate, reliable information to help customers make smarter decisions.
Consider the scope of customer information you currently collect. Now think about how the volume, diversity, and depth of that data will evolve and grow in the next three, five, or 10 years.
Building more detailed, accessible customer profiles and data points will be critical in the digital future of ag equipment dealerships, especially in these areas:
- Sales Data: Transactions, Units, Revenue
- Service Efficiency Data: Department Recovery Rates, Repair Event Cycle Times (RECT), Tech Efficiency, Hours Worked
- Marketing Data: Customer Demographics, Purchase Histories, Penetration Levels
A cloud-hosted server can be the cornerstone of data-driven automation and prepare your dealership for the digital future. According to a Gartner report, 85% of businesses will migrate from on-premise to cloud hosting by 2025.
In addition to the enhanced digital security of valuable customer and dealership data, a cloud-based solution allows you to access customer records, manage service in real-time and place orders for needed parts or technology – right from the field.
Read Next: 5 Ways Service Automation Tools Can Improve Technician Retention
3. The Need for Speed – Save Your Dealership and Your Customers Time
Your customer of tomorrow will have even less time to waste. This means your sales, service, part, and precision ag teams will need to be rapid, reliable problem-solvers.
Planting and harvest seasons already create a “triage” scenario for service and precision farming specialists. A more coordinated response time to a critical equipment crisis in the field and catering to a farmer’s increasingly tight schedule will be essential dealer responsibilities. Ag dealership technology should allow you to respond quickly and efficiently.
Incorporating automatic reminders for service work orders, along with creating or updating customer service agreements, are ways to stay ahead of potential problems. Service and precision ag techs can digitally prioritize, respond to and solve the most pressing customer challenges.
My technicians use the tablet all the way through the rest of the job to punch in and out, write their story, fill out their checklist and take pictures. Anything that they normally do during a job is now done with the tablet.
When they are done, they sign off and we go to bill the customer. It is a particularly good tool for my shop technicians.
– Matthew Marrazzo, Owner, Townline Equipment
Streamlined invoicing with technology that automatically archives and stores a digital history of every customer transaction, and digital timesheets are also tools that ensure accurate, transparent documentation of billable service hours
Read Next: 8 Ways to Implement Digital Changes in Your Dealership’s Service Department
Do More with Less, Starting Today
Time is already money for you and your customers. Although the digital future will create the capacity to do more with less, capitalizing on a more productive, profitable tomorrow starts with implementing efficient solutions today.
Whatever your vision is for the digital future of ag equipment dealerships, the right dealership management system can help you be prepared to serve the customers of tomorrow.
Want tools that will help digitally transform your dealership’s service?
Learn more about how DIS Service 360 can help you keep pace with customer expectations and provide a more modern, mobile, and memorable experience.