Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to Fix Three Simple Blogging Mistakes That Cost You Readers

Hands typing
Blogs are a great way to publish dealership-branded content online without overwhelming potential customers with the same old advertisements for incredible one-day-only deals. Regular and insightful posts on your dealership's blog can help you engage customers and become a trusted source of useful car information long before those customers are ready to buy a car.

Of course, if you already operate a blog for your dealership and you're frustrated by the lack of an obvious ROI, you might be unknowingly making mistakes that are keeping you from becoming that trusted source for your customers and sending them clicking elsewhere.

Routine errors and typos, posting too much (or too little) or even a lack of simplicity can turn off readers, keeping your traffic numbers low and leaving your engagement levels lower. Here are some ways you can remedy those issues and make the time you invest into blogging worth it.

Reduce Your Errors

Everybody that contributes to your dealership's blog should be putting a lot of effort into making sure the content is correct. Are you making suggestions for how to winterize a car? Don't mess up and tell them to put heavyweight oil in their car! Recommending the "Penny Test" for checking tire tread depth? The tread shouldn't be as thin as a penny. It should overlap Lincoln's head! Obviously, you need to verify that your advice is accurate.

However, even great advice can be overlooked if your posts are littered with typos and spelling mistakes. A comments section filled with quips like "OMG! EDIT MUCH?" and "Who edits this thing?" isn't a good form of engagement. Make sure every post is read multiple times by several people in the dealership before you publish it. If your options for editors are limited, give your brain a break after writing a post and review it again a day or two later. After reviewing it with fresh eyes, it should be ready to post.

Strike the Right Frequency

So you started a blog for your dealership and you were really excited about the possibilities. You had a ton of ideas for content and you've been churning them out as fast as you can. Maybe tap the brakes there, Dale. It's great that you have a lot of ideas, but do your customers really want to be bombarded with all of that fresh, new and awesome content all the time?

In theory, frequent and fresh content will help you move up Google's rankings, making it easier for interested customers to come across your blog and maybe even get a viral hit. But viral spikes are only temporary. Long-lasting and meaningful traffic is built by being an authority on what you write. Investing time in writing good, error-free content is more important than a splurge of short posts that hinge on the flavor of the day.

Keep It Simple

Cars are complex. From the sales process to even basic maintenance, it can be easy for somebody in the industry (like you) to forget who you're writing for and slip into using dealership jargon. I know you want to be helpful and give your readers information that they'll find interesting, but not all of your readers will understand complex descriptions of complex practices. Readers won't bother coming back if they can't relate to or understand what you're writing about.

You need to know your audience and keep your writing simple. I'm not telling you to water down your ideas, but try to use relatable metaphors that make a confusing idea sound a bit simpler. For example, explaining the reasons why older cars should be warmed up prior to driving in cold weather can sound boring when you start breaking down oil viscosity numbers. Instead, compare the practice to stretching before exercising.

If you're having a hard time understanding your target audience or knowing if your blog efforts are really generating leads, you need to look into a way to track your lead sources. Have you seen your lead traffic bloom after adjusting your blogging habits? What approach did you change? Let us know in the comments.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Three Feel-Good Customer Service Stories From 2017

Car Salesman Portraying Excellent Customer Service
So you'd like to hear a few stories about amazing customer service from this year? My pleasure. Anyone who has ever visited Chick-fil-A probably understands that reference. What is it, exactly, that makes us flock to the mile-long line wrapped around the parking lot?

Excellent customer service. (Well, that and the chicken, of course!)

Chick-fil-A, the fast-food Mecca of a great customer experience, has taken new heights to ensure its name is synonymous with unmatched customer service. Someone even made a hilarious rap about it on YouTube. The chain's employees do everything with a smile — even during lunch-hour chaos! But even Chick-fil-A knows that negative customer experiences can happen to everyone. Did you know that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience?

What did we learn from customer service in 2017? And how can you encourage your employees to treat customers well in 2018? Check out these real-life lessons below.

Drive Your Customers to Tears of Joy

Betten Baker, a Michigan dealership, is receiving a great deal of recognition for an act of pure kindness. Some used car dealerships can get a bad rap for selling cars with problems, but Betten Baker is turning that stereotype on its head.

Three months after Marty Helton bought a vehicle from Betten Baker, the vehicle's engine died en route to North Carolina. Having purchased a used car as-is, he knew the dealership owed him nothing. However, he had no other option, so he decided to ask for "a used Junker... with a million miles on it and rusty" that he could drive for a few weeks. Betten Baker responded to this request and then some. Not only did the dealership loan him a shiny new Silverado, it told him they would retrieve his vehicle from North Carolina and work with the warranty company to get his car fixed.

Marty was so moved that he shared his experience on social media. His post generated over 3,000 likes, 450 shares and 200 comments.

What a great story! While you might not be able to demonstrate such extreme levels of generosity in every situation, you can always encourage employees to exceed customer expectations. Any personal touch, whether it's a handwritten note or gesture, is sure to enhance the customer experience. The potential for improving your brand's reputation is an added bonus.

Fly Past Customer Expectations

Lost luggage? We've all been there. It's undoubtedly a huge inconvenience, but for one Pennsylvania woman, being reunited with her things was especially urgent. Stacy Hurt, a wife and mother battling cancer, was brought to tears when she realized she wouldn't have her luggage, which included her chemotherapy medicine and a few good luck charms for her treatment the following day.

When Stacy made an emotional phone call to Southwest, Sarah Rowan, the employee who spoke with Stacy, promised to do what she could to make sure Stacy's luggage was delivered before her appointment at 9 a.m. the next morning. When the bag finally arrived at the airport at 2 a.m. after all the couriers had left for the night  Sarah made it her mission to hand deliver the luggage.

Stacy's luggage arrived on her front porch at 3 a.m. with the following note:

It's good-hearted employees like Sarah from Southwest that will ultimately build up your business's reputation for being customer-service oriented. Because many companies are giving their employees more autonomy to make decisions like this one, it's crucial that you clearly communicate and live out the values you expect so your employees know how to best represent the company  especially in a challenging situation!

Walk Your Team Through Top-Notch Customer Service

When an elderly gentleman known as Mr. Roy walked into his local Walmart one day, he wandered over to the customer service desk to request help. Because he was blind, he needed assistance finding his groceries. While the store didn't typically offer this service, customer service agent Brittany Walton walked hand-in-hand with him for two hours until he found every item he needed. The picture went viral on Facebook and was a warm reminder that showing kindness, especially in this day and age, is never a bad idea.

 Customers can easily sense when an employee doesn't like their job or is in a rush to be doing something else. Whether it takes two hours or two seconds, be a support system by carefully walking them through anything they may need help with. Not only will you build a good reputation for your company and yourself, but you might gain a customer for life!

After hearing these three stories about outstanding customer service, we hope it inspires your company to go above and beyond to take care of your customers this year! Check out the infographic "Customer Service: The Forgotten Marketing Channel" for more tips on retaining customers with excellent service.