As cities are “reopening” around the country, we see buyers returning cautiously, with just 2% of consumers considering things to be “back to normal” according to the Cox Automotive COVID-19 Consumer Impact Study (June 12-13, 2020). Only 20% of customers are comfortable resuming daily activities, which means that dealerships need to be proactive about putting processes in place to ease car buyers’ concerns and help ensure safety for customers and employees alike.
We’ve discussed fully remote sales processes, but what would it look like to update the parts of the in-store deal that involve touching paperwork, pens and dealership devices?
Encourage customers to start online
Even for deals that will be completed at the dealership, having customers submit information online can help shorten their visit later on. Digital retailing tools on your website can enable customers to browse your inventory, learn about F&I products, start calculating payments and trade-in values, and submit credit applications. The more the customer can do in advance, the quicker you can get them on the road with their new vehicle.
Use document capture tools
Customers may feel uneasy about having their drivers’ licenses and paperwork handled for scanning or copying and then returned. Instead, use a solution that provides point-of-sale capture functionality. Find a well-lighted, easy to sanitize surface in the dealership and designate it for photographing customer IDs, pay stubs and other documents. You can use a tablet to take high-quality images of all stips and trailing docs and submit them to the lender.
Keep things digital
Another option is to have customers send you images of documents from the comfort of their own home or office, before they ever walk in the door of the dealership. You can upload scanned or emailed documents from your customer into the digital funding package directly from your computer, which saves time and reduces document handling. Use an eSigning solution that gives you the ability to add eSignatures to any deal documents. That way you can offer customers a single, digital signing session for all documents.
Bring remote signing into the dealership
The same remote signing technology you use to enable fully online deals can give customers peace of mind at the dealership. Suggest to your customers in advance that they bring in their own laptop or tablet. You can sync with their device so they can comfortably review and sign their eContract and other documents without having to handle any shared devices belonging to the dealership.