Auto industry shifts gears with their customer communications during COVID-19

Barbara Jackson

4 min read Last Updated May 29, 2020

Even during shelter-in-place orders, there are many essential businesses that are staying open to serve their communities. Auto-related businesses are examples of essential businesses that are staying open during this time. What has changed since the spread of coronavirus, and how are auto businesses communicating during COVID-19?

How auto shops and dealerships can keep up business 

With all the guidance around social distancing, people are wary of bringing their car to the shop, even if they really need help. Customers are also unsure of their auto shop’s operating hours, and they are cautious of leaving their homes unless they absolutely need to. Buying a car is usually a fun weekend outing, but very few people are buying cars as a luxury right now. How can dealerships adjust to this change? Check out how some of our customers in the auto industry are using BirdEye to keep their business running.

New customers from Webchat 

The Webchat widget installed on the business website allows the website visitors to reach out to businesses and get a prompt response. Auto repair shops and dealerships are using this to answer questions and set up appointments.

Text conversation showing auto businesses communicating during COVID-19.

“The Webchat offers reassurance to our customers. You know ‘I’m here for you.’ We started letting people know in our emails and voicemails that you can chat with a live person on our website.”

Vanessa, Team Mazda Subaru

Use SMS text messaging to meet customers where they are

Auto shops have been using SMS texting to do curbside check-ins to adapt to these unique circumstances. Instead of customers needing to go to the front desk to discuss their car repairs, the customer can text back and forth with a representative in the comfort of their own vehicle. Auto businesses communicating through text during COVID-19 are limiting social interaction to keep both employee and the customer health in mind.

Text conversation showing auto businesses communicating during COVID-19.

Car dealerships are using SMS text messaging to answer questions their customers have that they would usually discuss on the sales floor. Questions like, “Do you have any Mazda CX-5s?” or “Is the white minivan I looked at last week still available?” can all be answered through business texting.

Text conversation showing customer enquiring about a vehicle.

Conversations that auto shops and dealerships would normally be having with customers face-to-face are now easily transferred to this two-way communication to keep everyone’s health a priority.

Send photos through Inbox

Customers and employees can send photos through BirdEye Inbox. If a customer needs a car part, they can easily check if their local auto shop has it in stock by sending a photo. Car dealerships can text customers pictures of available cars so customers don’t need to browse in person. Through these simple adjustments, employees and customers are staying safe, while still having both of their needs met.

Text conversation showing customer texting a picture to an auto business asking about a part.

Send Announcements to keep customers in the know

Want to tell your customers what precautions your business is taking during COVID-19? Or do you need to let your customers know that your weekend hours have changed? Send important information like this using Announcements. Create an email and send it to all of your customers in a flash. 

Text conversation showing auto businesses communicating during COVID-19.

Update your business listings 

BirdEye can update all of your business listings in record time. Have your hours changed? Are you only open on certain days of the week? Put this information into your BirdEye dashboard, and we’ll make sure that your other online listings on 50+ sites are updated to match it. You’ll never get a customer arriving on the wrong day again!

Adapt your business with the right tools

With the right resources and a willing staff, there are ways that we can all adjust to these unique circumstances. Auto employees are doing their best to stay positive.

“Nothing has really been different. We are trying to stay busy, and make sure everything is moving as smoothly as possible.” 

Alicia, Concho Collision

Auto businesses communicating during COVID-19 use BirdEye. If you are already a BirdEye customer, you can talk to a sales rep to get started with the below features…

  • Update your business listings. Keep all of your online information up to date. 
  • Keep in touch with your customers through Webchat and Inbox. Enable business Landline SMS texting for open lines of communication. 
  • Send Announcements. Keep all of your customers notified about important changes through email. 

If you want to enable any of these tools for your business, contact our support team at support@birdeye.com or call us at 1-800-561-3357 Extn 3.