LEASING brokers were undoubtedly in pole position to take advantage of the pandemic.
With dealers closed and unable to transact, brokers offered a digital alternative that allowed customers to view vehicles, compare leasing rates, and research specifications. Not to mention the ability to transact online.
Brokers were also advantaged by the digital nature of their business – if you didn’t have a fully functioning website, it was difficult to be in the game. But those that were profited. According to analysts McKinsey, e-commerce grew by the equivalent rate of 10 years within just three months when the pandemic struck.
Personal contract hire (PCH) has been the golden child of leasing. Within the last five years personal leasing has grown significantly and now accounts for double the number of business contract hire leasing.
Much of this growth is down to the attractive leasing offers provided by broker websites. But is just having a website good enough anymore? The customer experience (CX) has become a critical part of the digital landscape as consumers have turned to digital in place of the physical.
A report in Techmonitor notes that the pandemic “has also accelerated the evolution of digital user interfaces, as people sought experiences that compensate for a lack of physical interaction in their lives and businesses vied for their customers’ attention in an increasingly competitive online marketplace.
These heightened CX expectations will remain after lockdowns are lifted. In 2021, therefore, technology leaders will be challenged to ensure that customer data, which underpins compelling experiences, is well integrated, available and of sufficient quality to keep their organisations at the cutting edge.Techmonitor
And it is exactly data and analytics in realtime that are beginning to help shape the CX. “These companies can better understand their interactions with customers and even preempt problems in customer journeys,” adds McKinsey.
Brokers and improved CX
So how can brokers improve what they have? How does the customer journey get better for the user? How can your website fuel growing sales and greater profitability?
“Creating a seamless online journey, brokers can capture the market opportunity and future-proof their business model to prepare for any future changes,” says Rebecca Duckworth, chief sales officer, QV Systems.
In other words, attending to every facet of the customer journey is the critical part, particularly as other online vehicle retailers – which now include car retailers which have become more digitally present as a reaction to the pandemic.
Here are the essentials for great CX
The shop window
Making your website different is a key differentiator and identifies your brand: 75% of consumers admit to judging a company’s credibility based on their website design. So something that says something, speaks to the consumer and engages is crucial.
A connected platform
The shop window not only has to look good but it also requires that you have the latest deals, that it’s fuelled by cap hpi data with proper photographs, along with vehicles that are fully featured in terms of specification.
And when the consumer responds – a process which should be as simple as possible – you need a fully featured CRM (customer relationship management system) to capture the information and to respond appropriately.
Stay people focused
Once a consumer submits an enquiry, you have the opportunity to retain and close that business by offering them the experience they expect. One of the most powerful ways you can achieve this is by making the process paperless.
Techmonitor again: “In particular, providing a personalised and responsive CX means that up-to-date customer data must be shared across departments – for example, between marketing and customer service – in a timely manner, so that customer-facing functions can respond accordingly.”
So making sure your administrative work is as streamlined and auto generated is critical.
The digital handshake
We’ve come this far in the customer journey, the last thing you want is a requirement to send out papers for signing or inviting the customer into the office to pen the contract. Remember when you had to do that? Make sure, instead, that you have e-signature tools within your system to store customer permissions and keep a compliant paper trail – but digitally, of course!
Lifetime contact and care
Once you have a customer and a sale, don’t let them go off into the ether. Use your CRM to deliver timely updates during the vehicle lease lifecycle, perhaps sending relevant news, timely updates or customer check-ins. Your CRM can do this automatically for you.
Make sure you can compete on the CX
How can you make your customer experience not only good – but great?
Your customer proposition needs to be customer centric, responsive and digitally frictionless. Get that right – and you have the opportunity to really grow your business in a pandemic-accelerated digital marketplace.
So how does your website measure up? Is it good? How, then, can it be great?
Understand more about the customer experience and digital journey
You can read a detailed insight into improving the customer experience thanks to a special mini guide produced by QV Systems called Auto-Finance Acceleration.
To download your free copy, click on the image below:
Ralph Morton is the leading journalist in the leasing broker sector and editor of Broker News, the website which provides information and news for BVRLA-registered leasing brokers. He also writes extensively on the fleet and leasing market in both the UK and Europe.