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CXAUTO 2023 Recap: Real World Dealership CX Strategies & Insights

October 31, 2023
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In the fast-paced and ever-evolving digital landscape, customer experience (CX) has emerged as a crucial differentiator for dealership success. This was the central theme of a recent panel discussion at CXAUTO 2023, where industry leaders, including LeeAnn Gehrs, Vice President of the Customer Engagement Center at Holman; Leah Webb, Vice President of Marketing at Foundation Automotive; and Atul Patel, Co-Founder and CEO of Orbee, shared their insights, experiences, and challenges in enhancing the customer journey within their dealership groups. This article provides a recap of the discussion that took place among these accomplished dealership CX leaders. They explored innovative strategies to create seamless experiences, foster enduring relationships, and transform their dealerships into customer-centric hubs.

Embracing Customer Segmentation

One of the key themes that emerged from the discussion was the importance of understanding customer segmentation in the automotive industry. The speakers emphasized that different customers have distinct preferences when it comes to purchasing a vehicle. These preferences should be taken into account when designing a customer experience. 

Data Management Platforms (DMPs), such as Orbee, are instrumental in embracing customer segmentation. They can create both simple and sophisticated customer segments based on first-party data like website activity. This allows dealerships to understand their customers' behaviors and preferences more deeply. By leveraging this data, dealerships can tailor their marketing and sales strategies to meet the specific needs of each customer segment. This level of personalization not only enhances the customer experience but also drives customer loyalty and dealership success. With a DMP like Orbee, dealerships can truly embrace customer segmentation, leading to more effective and personalized customer interactions. This concept of targeted marketing and communication strategies was taken to the next level by Leah Webb, Vice President of Marketing at Foundation Automotive.

Leah Webb highlighted the use of third-party tools to target specific customer segments. She shared an example of how different generations, such as millennials and Gen Z, have unique purchasing behaviors and communication preferences. By leveraging third-party data about a particular demographic's lifestyle, buying behaviors and more, dealerships can tailor their marketing and communication strategies to meet the needs of these diverse customer segments.

The Role of Marketing in CX

The panelists also discussed the integral role of marketing in shaping the customer experience. They noted that all marketing is communication, and this communication should be personalized to the customer's preferences and needs. The speakers emphasized that marketing and CX are intertwined, with marketing strategies playing a significant role in defining the overall customer journey.

The panelists underscored the transformative power of Customer Data Platforms in the realm of data-driven marketing. These platforms enhance the customer experience by gathering and organizing data from various touchpoints, providing a comprehensive view of each customer. This holistic understanding enables tailored marketing efforts. When enriched with third-party data, these platforms can facilitate highly personalized marketing campaigns. One pathway to superior customer experience is through such personalized marketing. Therefore, these platforms ensure that marketing strategies are not only data-driven but also customer-centric, fostering a more personalized and seamless customer experience.

Consistency Across Departments

The panelists stressed the importance of consistency across all departments in a dealership. They suggested that a consistent customer experience could be achieved by having a strong platform or mission statement that all employees adhere to. 

LeeAnn Gehrs, Vice President Customer Engagement Center of Holman shared her experiences in implementing a universal voice of customer understanding and robust analytics to deliver consistent customer experiences. She also highlighted the importance of change management in ensuring that all departments are aligned in delivering a consistent and high-quality customer experience.

Community Involvement and Employee Experience

The speakers also touched on the importance of community involvement and employee experience in shaping the customer journey. They shared how their dealerships' active participation in community events and initiatives helped build strong relationships with customers and enhance their overall experience.

In conclusion, the panel discussion provided valuable insights into the real-world strategies and challenges in implementing effective CX in dealerships. The speakers emphasized the importance of understanding customer segmentation, the role of marketing in CX, and the need for consistency across all departments. They also highlighted the significance of community involvement and a positive employee experience in shaping the customer journey. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, these insights will be crucial in helping dealerships stay competitive and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

For those interested in learning more about enhancing customer experience and how technology can help all departments at a dealership understand and segment their shoppers to provide a personalized and seamless experience, the team at Orbee is ready to help. Reach out to Orbee to explore how our cutting-edge solutions can transform your dealership's customer experience strategy.

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