New GM Program Awards Dealerships That Can Answer Customer Email

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I was recently made aware of an almost unprecedented program that GM is goingMoney_Email to roll out to some of its dealerships.  Basically, in an attempt to improve the dealership’s email customer service and sales, GM is going to pay quarterly bonuses to dealerships that demonstrate they can answer customer emails in 2 hours or less.  Wait … what ?!?

GM is looking for more than a simple auto-response however (our source reveals); they want their dealers to respond with helpful answers to the customers specific questions, not just a reply informing them to expect a call later, or automated requests for more information.

I believe that the only reason GM would be willing to do this is if they suspect they are losing significant opportunities as a result of slow, incomplete, substandard, or non-existent email responses to customer inquiries.  Such was the experience of our own staff members recently while searching for a new vehicle online.

Apparently it’s all over the map with dealerships that are using their online presence to drive sales, with some generating a significant amount of business -  to those dealerships that see little value in their dealership’s web presence.  It appears that GM is looking to change that by providing incentives to dealerships that can show a high level of commitment to email customer service, improving revenue and customer satisfaction in the process.

Could it be that the world is waking up to the idea that customers expect timely. professional responses to their email inquiries?  We’d like to hope so.  I do not think that consumers in general send email inquiries to vendors just for “the fun of it”.  They do so because they are busy, or are trying to avoid the “pushy” salesman on the phone.  Whatever the reason, studies find that if they are ignored - or receive inaccurate or unprofessional responses, they move on.

Do you know how many of your customers are moving on?  To fully understand the challenges of email contact centers, and how you can improve your email customer service, download the  free whitepaper “Customer Email: Handle with Care”.

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