Just as important as having the software tools that will help your dealership succeed is having a team that’s excited to use them. That excitement is born at the ground level, with the platform itself, and will grow as the team’s understanding of the processes around the technology grows.
Remember Everett Rogers’ “Diffusions of Innovations” theory? His research showed that as five successive groups of consumers adopt new technology – the Early Innovators, then the Early Adopters, then the Early Majority, etc. – its market share will eventually reach the saturation level.
You want “saturation level” at your dealership to happen quickly, with your whole team on board and using your tools right away. One main way that Beth Moore, Senior Director of Global UI/UX at AutoAlert, achieves this in the creation of innovative software is through familiarity. She gives the example of Facebook. Although primarily a sharing platform, it has made taking pictures, messaging, and sending images and videos as intuitive as when using a standard cell phone.
“UX (user experience) is constantly changing, but building in patterns and conventions that people are familiar with allows the user to ease into a new modern user interface, even if it houses a new sophisticated process,” she says. “Even when we release innovation not yet seen in automotive, users only need days to fully understand it.”
“Sometimes it’s best to start fresh and give life to your software. Doing this also attracts younger generations, who will want to work for you if you innovate often.” – Beth Moore, Senior Director of Global UI/UX at AutoAlert
The Need for Advanced UI/UX
Much of the software used by today’s car dealerships was designed years ago and has become outdated. Even if they did jump on board right away, users drop off because they can’t relate to old-school interface and processes.
We see this in the example of CRMs and millennials who refuse to make phone calls because they don’t see the point of it. The CRM demands detailed information made through customer connections, but if millennials don’t have a good “why” for making a phone call, they’ll push back and refuse to do it, or do it half-heartedly resulting in the dreaded “lvm.”
With the oldest members of Generation Z – the first true digital natives – now entering dealerships as employees, it’s only going to get dicier. That’s why having multi-generational software platforms and corresponding processes in place is so critical for dealerships today.
The FANG Factor
The FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) stocks are some of the most popular stocks in the market today. This is very likely due to these companies’ genius ability to create innovative services via a platform that just about everybody can understand, without instruction – platforms that are easy for me, my grandmother, and my 12-year-old boy to use.
One of Facebook’s goals from the start was “to make something as simple as we can so that [users] will understand it,” company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, told Congress in April.
For dealerships, the question is: Is the software at your dealership easy for everyone on your team to use? Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Zers?
It doesn’t have to be as intuitive as the FANG companies; what they offer for users is a more singular service (one person who’s buying things, watching movies, searching the internet, etc.) than technology that’s designed to help your entire team sell more cars in a variety of new ways.
But it does have to be modern, sophisticated yet simple, and of course, effective.
“When it comes to automotive, that software should hand users their tasks. We wouldn’t want our users to miss an existing opportunity or a new lead, or forget to greet their customer, as they came through the service drive. At the same time, we need to track those interactions to make sure they’re happening as expected,” Moore says.
Once you’re sure that the software platform is user-friendly for everyone on your team, the next step is to make sure multi-generational processes are in place.
Consider the Processes
What have we learned from the dealership millennials who refuse to make random phone calls? The most important lesson, perhaps, is that dealers have a large customer base that doesn’t want to receive those phone calls either. And that base is only growing.
Software that considers users and the end customer will have processes that make sense to multiple generations as well. This includes data-backed communications, like car-buying options for the customer and other helpful information.
Technology should make your team’s job easier, not more complicated. Sure, there will be a learning curve with anything new, but having a good base to grow from – one that everyone can relate to – will make that curve seem less steep.