The test drive of the future will involve a comprehensive debrief of the customer’s experience even before they return the vehicle, says automotive software expert, DCML Ltd.
As well as knowing exactly how the vehicle has been driven and the type of roads driven on, dealer sales staff will routinely be provided with comprehensive information about the customer experience to help close sales.
While more automotive manufacturers and dealers promote test drive programmes and extended trials lasting 24 to 48 hours, feedback provided to dealers or fleet managers by drivers is often limited in scope and can be inaccurate.
The use of telematics in demonstrator vehicles, however, will be commonplace by 2017, says the creator of Dealer Car Manager and newly launched DCM Connected.
The vast majority of dealers still rank the test drive process as very important in securing a sale but often lack best practice advice for managing the process. A customer who tests a car is already more likely to make a purchase, so it is crucial to maximise the opportunity. With some brands rooted to just 20 per cent, incorporating telematics is projected to boost conversion rates to over 40 per cent.
Dealerships are already exploiting the new approach in conjunction with DCML. Initial reports show that staff are more empowered to close the deal when armed with knowledge of the customer’s usage during the test drive.
Vince Powell, Managing Director of DCML Ltd, commented: “It is very easy to hand over the keys to a customer and forget about them until they return. However, when a prospect borrows a car for a day or more, it is hugely beneficial to be able to discuss with them exactly how they’ve made use of the vehicle.
“Test drive programmes and extended trials represent a significant investment for dealers, by having a targeted conversation about how a certain vehicle might suit the customer’s lifestyle or meet their requirements, the dealer is better able to control the conversation and close the deal more easily. Dealers who adopt technology will undoubtedly boost test drive conversion rates; those who don’t will be left behind.”
“On top of that, there’s a huge benefit in terms of risk management through driver behaviour monitoring and knowing exactly where the vehicle is at all times. We are sure that, within just a couple of years, most franchised dealers will adopt this approach.”
As well as seeing a rise in dealers wanting to make the most of the test drive itself, DCML says demand for a more complete package, incorporating day rate insurance, telematics and software to help manage test drive logistics, is increasing.
As well as supporting over 1,000 franchised dealerships, DCML assists manufacturers with efficient online marketing tools.
Visit www.dcml.co.uk/ for more information.