By Ezequiel Arredondo
We’ve said it before, and we’ll gladly say it again: Shoppers contact your dealership to shop for boat models, but they stay for the customer service. As the buying process becomes increasingly digital, how does this impact dealers’ approach to serving their customers? It turns out consumers have an increased expectation for boat dealers to provide digital customer service options. While the customer service ways of old have focused on phone and email, dealers now need to offer their shoppers online engagement options.
Social media is an excellent resource to strengthen your online customer service. Among younger generations especially, social media is becoming a primary source of research and interaction with businesses, and it factors heavily into consumers’ buying decisions. As a result, we are seeing a year-over-year increase in social media use. For example, before the end of 2021 Facebook Messenger is expected to reach 2.4 billion users!
So, how can you leverage your dealership’s social media presence to provide powerful digital customer service?
Be Present on Multiple Channels
While the majority of businesses are familiar with social giants like Twitter and Facebook, we invite dealers to diversify their online presence across other social channels as well. Your prospects may prefer to use channels such as Reddit, LinkedIn or Instagram to connect with businesses, and by establishing a presence on a variety of social channels, you can appease a greater number of online shoppers. Consumers feel more comfortable engaging with business through their preferred channel. If your dealership is still fairly new social media, we recommend focusing first on popular platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter before expanding to more niche channels as you discover what your customers like.
Make Your Social Posts Valuable
It’s easy to fall into the practice of posting online “for the sake of posting” to keep your social feed from going stale. We agree that it’s crucial to stay active online, and casual posts such as #MotivationalMonday are a great way to keep your brand in front of your online followers when news is slow. As much as possible, we encourage you to create messaging that’s engaging and informative to drive value and promote your dealership as a source for education and authenticity.
Connect Through Direct Messaging
Many prospects are drawn to social media because of the ability to directly message businesses and receive a quick reply. Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Twitter—to name a few—offer direct messaging platforms that allow shoppers to receive rapid assistance on pressing concerns and questions. If your social media channels offer direct messaging, be sure to monitor these platforms regularly to address any incoming inquiries.
While you are building your social media presence, don’t let go of the more traditional communication methods such as phone and email, as these are not going away. Rather, incorporate social media into your existing customer service strategy so that you can better meet your customers’ preferences and expand your dealership’s availability.
Ezequiel Arredondo is the vice president of operations for Dealer Spike.