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Building Today’s Communication Tool Box

If you were to open your grandpa’s tool box from years ago, you’d probably recognize many of the tools, but there would also be several that appeared outdated. In comparison, the tools you use to build, repair, and update your space today are probably much more modern versions than those used in previous generations. That’s because over time, we’ve advanced and adapted in order to work more efficiently and accomplish a greater amount of work. The same holds true with the way we communicate. There was time when the rotary phone was an invaluable tool, an innovative addition to our everyday lives.

Now, however, most of us would be lost without a mobile device in-hand—and many of us carry multiple devices just to stay connected and keep us on top of what’s happening in our world.

The ways in which we communicate are ever-changing, and that means thriving dealerships must always be on the lookout for ways to update and clean out their communication tool boxes. While keeping up with technology isn’t always easy, it’s necessary in order to stay ahead of the game and maintain an edge in today’s fast-moving marketplace. 

Power Tools

When considering how to fill your toolbox and innovate to accommodate consumers, you’ll want to take a look at the tools that will give you the most mileage for your time and marketing spend. Which communication tools drive a powerful punch and will help you connect with the greatest amount of people in the most relevant ways? Those are your power tools, the tools you’ll rely on when you need to quickly and efficiently communicate with consumers.

The tool box for every business looks slightly different, so it’s necessary to take an inventory of your particular dealership’s communication needs and move forward from that point. Take some time to really think about the various ways in which you communicate, as well as the various people you interact with on a day-to-day basis. It can be surprising for many to note that in addition to employees and potential customers, communication extends to other business partners such as parts suppliers, various vendors, banking specialists, OEMs, and myriad other individuals. Your business must have a communication solution for such a wide range of communication needs.

Where to Start

Once you’ve taken an inventory of all the professional individuals and organizations that receive communication from your dealership, look at the ways you typically communicate with them. This is where you may need to clean out your tool box, because in today’s fast-moving world, it’s common for businesses to prefer—and expect—digital interaction from their partners. The internet is replacing outdated tools like stamps and envelopes and instead, sharing information with customers and business partners via newer, faster outlets.

Ask yourself the following questions to get started and point you in the right direction:

  • Are all of your employees on one integrated messaging system, so that you are able to easily and efficiently communicate throughout the dealership?
  • Are you able to share valuable content with consumers in an easily-accessible format via your online platforms?
  • Do you offer easy-to-find reviews and comparisons for shoppers, without directing them to websites other than your own?
  • Do you make a habit of interacting with and engaging consumers online, where they are most active in doing product research?
  • What tools do you have in place to notify you of online lead shopping and research activity?

Multiple phone lines are no longer the latest and greatest in communication technology, and your dealership must continuously be on top of the newest technology in order to stay current and relevant with consumers. While phone systems and email are the norm in everyday work life, today’s internal and external consumers demand even more. In order to quickly communicate, leave feedback, and seamlessly receive messages from multiple senders almost instantly, it’s imperative today’s successful businesses see the latest tools in the marketplace as essential in order to win in the marketplace.

Social Communication

Social communication is another way you can stay relevant and in constant contact with consumers. The benefits of social communication are numerous. In fact, if you want to be where your consumers are shopping and researching and where your business partners are interacting, it’s essential to position your dealership on social platforms and open channels of communication. By doing so, you’ll end up increasing brand awareness and serving as a resource in your field, making you a go-to dealership when it’s time for consumers to buy or service their vehicles. If you haven’t yet thought through all the ways you can use social communication to further the success of your dealership, consider the following:

  • Social communication is a way for your customers to communicate with you. By making your dealership available for feedback and interaction on social platforms, you’ll be giving shoppers a way to ask questions, give feedback, and give positive reviews. Additionally, you’ll be able to respond in kind, showing your concern for their insights and letting them know how you’ll be handling the issue at hand. This is a great way to stay in touch with customers and let potential customers know you follow through with shopper questions and concerns.
  • When you communicate with you consumers and potential customers socially, they’ll get your information instantaneously—gaining you an edge over the competition. Got a promotion you want them to hear about or a deal you want to share? Be the first to share that communication via social sharing, and your customers will know you’re in tune with online platforms and anxious to earn their business.
  • Social communication keeps you linked with your employees. Want to get the word out about dealership events or updates? Facebook is the perfect way to share fun content to your employees’ accounts and keep them in the loop with what’s happening at work. Most of your employees are already on social media for personal purposes, so when you encourage them to link up to it for professional purposes as well, you’ll ensure your employees see messages quickly and in a way that’s convenient for them.
  • Social communication encourages others to share your brand. Whenever you share great things that are going on at your dealership—promotions, events, or new inventory—online viewers will be inspired to share it with their online social circles as well. Online communication is contagious, so when you share great dealership news, expect it to travel, and in turn, expect your brand recognition to grow.
  • By communicating via online social networks, you can easily recognize employees or groups of employees for jobs well-done. This not only boosts employee morale, but it also serves as a reminder to potential customers that your dealership is focused on quality standards and rewards employees for delivering excellence.

There are several tools you should consider keeping at the top of your toolbox in order to propel your dealership toward communication excellence in today’s fast-paced and online-centric society. The largest social networking site, with the most users is still Facebook, with over 1 million small- to medium-sized companies advertising on the site. It is followed by Twitter, which is reported to earn approximately 81% of its advertising revenue from mobile. Thirdly, LinkedIn is known as a professional network and has over 332 million users. These are the ‘Big Three,’ but companies are also finding creative ways to use Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram for communication purposes.

After all is said and done, successful dealerships today will note their communication tool boxes are changing to fit the needs of consumers. Consumers are quick to connect, research, and act—and that means dealerships must also be quick to do the same if they are to win in the marketplace. Successful communication means determining first who comprises your audiences, and then, discovering the best ways to meet those individuals with effective, authentic interaction. 

Tool boxes no longer contain as many of the old devices and means of connecting; instead, the past has given way to newer, more innovative ways of reaching a broader audience via the most effective means. By updating your dealership’s communication tool box, you’ll be able to reach more customers, connect with a wider range of professionals, and share updates with an unlimited online audience. It’s time to update your tool box and get in touch with more people than ever before!

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