Ralph Paglia: Allow the Customer to Select the Communication Channel

Effective communication plays a pivotal role in the customer relationship, especially in the automotive industry. 

It’s recognized as an area that requires improvement by some of the biggest names in the field such as CDK Global. CPI recently had the opportunity to speak with automotive digital marketing specialist, Ralph Paglia on the subject. 

We asked Ralph his thoughts on the most effective way dealerships can communicate with their clientele. His response was quite insightful!

“This is almost a trick question in that for each consumer there are going to be variable communication methods that are most effective for that individual. The most effective strategies I have seen deployed are when the dealer’s approach allows the communication channel to be selected based on each consumer's responsiveness and feedback.”

What works for one customer may not work for the next, in other words. Part of the customer interview should include a question on the way they wish to be contacted. 

Texting is Big Right Now

Ralph Paglia understands the customer’s limitations on contact methods also. Texting is the perfect example of an effective communication method that can be used well, or it can be intrusive. 

“Many customers today are most effectively communicated with via text message, yet there are those consumers who consider texting an invasion of their personal space. In the case of SMS (text messaging), each dealer needs an opt-in process that allows consumers to authorize text messages from the dealership by selecting which types of messages they want to receive. For example, I may want to receive notification that my car is done in the service department or for additional work authorization, but I may not want to receive text messages about the big sale at the dealership every weekend.” 

Why Choice is Important

Yet, for some customers, it can be too impersonal to communicate digitally. There are, and will always be, a certain portion of your clientele who would rather carry on a vocal conversation. 
Ralph Paglia says, “There are many customers who will be much better served when they receive a call from a salesperson, BDC rep or manager at the dealership that engages in a conversation specifically focused on what is important to that customer. “

Whether texting, emailing or calling, context is key. It’s paramount to contact customers on their terms without being intrusive. Give customers the ability to select their preferred communication channel to enhance the customer relationship.


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