It’s good to talk, as Bob Hoskins used to say in those famous BT adverts from the mid-1990s.
Like many people recently, I had to call my energy supplier to make inquiries about my tariff and submit a meter reading.
While I was on hold, the pre-recorded voice continually advised me to go on their website, which frustratingly wasn’t working.
I’d also emailed my inquiry and received a response from an address that quite clearly stated not to expect a reply.
All I wanted to do was talk to a person, and it didn’t have to be in person either – I just wanted an answer to my question, nothing more.
The online chat wasn’t much help either, as it obviously wasn’t a real person, merely a chatbot that was only programmed to answer specific subjects and questions.
At times, it can appear that companies just don’t want to talk to you, make it overly difficult to communicate with them, or want to funnel you down a route that better serves them rather than the customer.
We like to give our dealer network as many options as possible when it comes to communicating with us.
At times, our dealers just want a quick response to their inquiry so they can focus on selling their vehicles.
We’ve been investing heavily in our IT systems in recent years so that we can offer our dealer network a more flexible communication option when they just want a quick answer.
We recently rolled out a chat option, which is available to our dealer network when they log in to our online system.
This allows dealers the convenience to ask any question, and it can be kept open on their PC or phone all day!
Our dealers have found the chat is faster than email.
That means less waiting, it’s cheaper than a phone call, is answered very quickly and, more importantly, is operated by people with their names displayed on the chat itself – not a robot in sight!
However, we never dictate how anyone should communicate with us.
If our dealers still prefer a phone call, an email, or even a fax, our team is always on hand to answer any queries, regardless of the method via which we receive them.
Reviewing how your customers can communicate with you is certainly recommended, and ensuring that they can easily communicate with you how they want to can often be the difference between making a sale or not.
Yes, it’s ‘good to talk’ – that will likely never change – just ensure that you’re aware of how your customers want to talk to you, and that those methods are available to them.
While this form of investment and communication system may be out of reach for some, there are cheaper alternatives worth considering, some of which you may already have access to, such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
This column appears in issue 170 of Car Dealer, along with news, views, features, reviews and much more! To read and download it for free, click here.