Article

Customer Engagement: Your Key to Increasing Product Acceptance

November 2012, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Kirk Manzo - Also by this author

 

It is human nature to resist the first offer we are presented with in nearly every circumstance. We are independently-minded and would rather select our own preferences versus being told what we need. Passively watching any presentation decreases involvement and satisfaction. That being the case, let’s acknowledge that customers clearly prefer to buy versus being sold.

The traditional presentation of information is evolving. The talking head on TV news is often accompanied by a ticker of breaking news along the bottom of the screen so you can listen or read the stories that most interest you. And often, upcoming stories are listed along the left side of the screen, encouraging you to wait for upcoming topics of interest.

With all this evolution in presentation formats, how has your finance menu presentation evolved? It is an improvement to present a piece of paper printed from a computer, but please tell me you are not still using handwritten menus. Hopefully, the menu is in full color with type large enough to be read by the customer while you present.

We live in a world of smart phones, touch-screen tablets, voice-activated cars, high-definition TVs and 3-D motion pictures. And you wonder why your customer is disengaged while watching your business manager’s paper menu presentation? Using such is the equivalent of using hand puppets to entertain high school students. It’s simply not effective.

So what are your options? The good news is there are numerous platforms available to dramatically enhance the customer experience when presented and offered F&I products and protection packages.

MenuSys offers a tablet-based presentation that allows for a sophisticated electronic presentation. Use of the touch screen alone helps increase customers’ engagement. The SmartPad from IAS also deploys a touch-screen tablet for presenting different protection packages available. They integrate a pre-interview component with an instant alert function. This increases customer engagement by having the guest use the tablet to answer a series of customizable questions. The results are sent to both the business manager and senior management.

Capturing this relevant, timely information about the customer’s preferences and habits saves time and focuses their attention in an, innovative way on the topics about to be discussed. The guest interview has always been a good practice. The SmartPad raises that practice to another level.

The final two options provide the highest level of customer engagement during the presentation process of the F&I menu.

The Impact Group in Washington, D.C., offers a software tool called Fusion. The concept of using software to generate an F&I menu presentation is not new, but the format of the presentation itself is new. With the price of large-screen TVs dropping dramatically recently, purchasing and installing a large flat-panel monitor in the F&I office costs less than the profit from an average car deal. Integrating the use of a wireless keyboard and mouse then facilitates a high level of customer engagement in the F&I process. By allowing guests to fully participate, the process provides transparency; everyone can see changes to the figures together on the large monitor in real time. Business managers are encouraged to allow the guest to take the mouse and make changes themselves. Adding or subtracting coverage or adjusting term and down payment amounts, the customer can guide the presentation to achieve the preferred payment they are seeking.

The last option is the most robust and, as you might expect, the most expensive to implement. The docuPAD system was originally designed by COINdata and is owned and operated by Reynolds and Reynolds. This desktop presentation system offers the ultimate in customer engagement with embedded videos and graphics. Like the early adopters of high-definition TV seeking out HD channels eight years ago, the system offers more horsepower than content providers can fill. Unfortunately, many of your current product vendors do not have the content in video and graphics format to maximize the docuPAD’s system for full utilization.

In the end, we must accept the fact that consumers are being bombarded by high-engagement experiences that set expectations for a wow factor at an all-time high. If your F&I menu presentation looks like a black and white TV with rabbit ears, it’s time to get in the game with a technology platform that reflects the current business climate.

Vol 9, Issue 9

Comment

  1. 1. Mad Marv Eleazer [ December 11, 2012 @ 08:26PM ]

    "Using such [paper menu] is the equivalent of using hand puppets to entertain high school students. It’s simply not effective."

    Really, Kirk. Are ya serious?

 

Your Comment

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
Your Name:  
Your Email:  

Blog

On-the-Point

Jim Ziegler
Objects in the Rearview Mirror

By Jim Ziegler
The past is right behind us and the future is coming fast. The Alpha Dawg plots a course for your store’s success and shares advice for Elon Musk, Johan de Nysschen, and pre-owned managers.

The Big Talent Drain

By Jim Ziegler
The Alpha Dawg tackles the shortage of talent in the managerial ranks and reflects on Amazon’s rumored foray into vehicle sales, the imminent used-car correction, Hyundai’s plan for the Genesis brand, and the untimely passing of Tammie LeBleu.

A Faster Horse

By Jim Ziegler

Strangers in the Mall

By Jim Ziegler

Opening Observations

Over the Curb