The automobile industry is unlike any other in the way it operates. Manufacturing depends on in-house production as well as procurement through OEMs and the operation itself may be decentralized. Further, sales do not take place directly to customers but do so through a network. Service and maintenance are crucial aspects addressed through dealers offering service as well as through third party services. Then there is the wholesale and retail end of spare parts segment to assure free and steady flow of replacement parts. This calls for extreme coordination for enhanced operational efficiencies, particularly so in the light of changed circumstances following the pandemic. This is further compounded by the strong challenge posed by electric vehicles. The call center software could be just the catalyst for automobile sector to enhance its value chain.
Driving digital sales
A McKinsey report finds an increase of 13 percentage points in the use of digital channels. This calls for the auto segment to engage across several channels online: website to social media. The report finds that 64 percent of auto makers find digital channels to be more effective. How so?
A typical example is that of a customer who searches online for a vehicle and lands at the company website where the welcome encourages them to inquire and receive personalized attention to the point of conversion. At this point they are directed to their nearest retailer who receives an alert from the car maker.
The call center solution proves invaluable in linking website through IVR and chatbot for the first connect, migrating to voice call or video call and conference to deepen engagement. This can be done through the WebRTC phone feature of the call center software. It permits seamless switch from audio to video chat and then conference call involving manufacturer’s representative, target customer and local dealer. Such calls are recorded for future analysis and follow up.
A customer may follow a different path such as expressing a wish on Facebook about an intending purchase and asking for advice. In this case the omnichannel contact center software is an easy solution for auto makers to keep their fingers on the pulse, so to speak, detect such instances and jump in to start a conversation which, later on, may be steered to more private channels such as phone and then drawing in a local retailer to establish the sales process.
At another level, auto makers cannot just sit back and wait for customers to walk by. They must go proactive and dial possible leads. This is easily achieved using the call center solution’s predictive dialer, progressive dialer or preview dialer. One can, for instance, use outbound campaigns to exhort older customer to switch to newer models with incentives for doing so and also use the campaign to target new customers. The normal method is for auto retailers to take care of sales but in these highly competitive times it is for auto makers to initiate the process.
Taking it a step further, they can leave it to auto retailers but coordinate, control and manage the process by the use of multi-tenant contact center solution in which the retailer uses the same software but with segregation of features such as contact lists and CRM. However, the main tenant, which is the auto maker, and sub-tenants, comprising of distributors and dealers, enjoy all features such as ticketing system, DID management, multi-user login, DNC control and dialers. In addition, they have access to barge-in, whispering, trunk management, real time queue and call routing.
In this type of scenario even remote workers and field agents can be part of the communication setup through their mobiles. The software permits call forwarding and call bridging for easy connectivity within the loop.
Just as the call center solution is useful to acquire and manage customers, it can be an invaluable aid for manufacturing, providing secure and seamless connection between component suppliers, raw material suppliers, OEM parts suppliers and the production unit as well as head office of the auto maker. You can have just one contact center software or a multi-tenant one in this direction too and stay current about status at all important points besides addressing issues and resolving them through conferencing and document exchange through the contact center software.
As stated in the introductory para, customer service is integral to auto sales and no customer will tolerate poor quality of service. Again, the call center software becomes an invaluable service medium. For instance, a customer may wish to find the nearest service center in which case he will probably dial a toll-free number that goes into an IVR that, in turn, presents options for the caller to get what they need. In the same way the IVR can be used to gather information on nature of service required and thus gain insight into performance of the vehicle as well as quality of on-ground service support in various locations, possibly leading to improvements. The IVR is not the only channel. Encourage customers to use tweets and Facebook posts which can be more transparent, exhibiting your response not only to the complainant but also to other customers, enhancing your brand image in the process.
With millions of customers as well as thousands of dealers and vendors worldwide it can be quite a chore to announce changes. This, however, is easily accomplished using SMS/voice broadcast module of the call center software.
This touches but briefly on the myriad possibilities that call center software presents to the automobile sector to revamp and considerably improve its communications and service, directly impinging production and sales. There is a lot you can do, such as internal communication and collaboration, and more.