A guide to integrating your dealer management system with WhatsApp

A guide to integrating your dealer management system with WhatsApp

16 Jul 2024


In this blog

    Ready to reach customers with WhatsApp?

    Grow sales by 160%

    Cut service costs by 73%

    Boost responses by 40%

    WhatsApp for Business solution by Cue

    We live in a world of instant gratification and customers expect nothing less when buying high-ticket items, especially cars. 

    But is your dealership set up to provide this instant service?

    Your dealer management system (DMS) is a powerful tool, but relying solely on emails, phone calls, and face-to-face meetings can make the customer experience a bit messy. Enter WhatsApp.

    In this article, we explore:

    • WhatsApp’s ability to impact your customer's success

    • How you can leverage WhatsApp for your dealership

    • The best practices for customer experience using WhatsApp

    Why WhatsApp for automotive?

    For starters, dealerships have reported up to a 13% increase in customer engagement since adopting WhatsApp. But that’s not all: 

    Meet customers where they are

    The obvious reason is that your customers already use the mobile app. WhatsApp is the go-to communication app for many of your customers. When you leverage the platform, you're not just reaching out – you're meeting them on familiar ground, making interactions more comfortable and engaging. 

    Instant, real-time communication

    Did you know that 78% of people use customer service as a metric to decide whether or not to do business with you? The automotive industry is a fast-paced and competitive landscape. Customers expect fast sales and service - speed is everything. WhatsApp offers exactly that; instant, real-time communication, allowing your teams to respond to inquiries, schedule appointments, and resolve issues faster than ever.

    Secure document sharing

    Aside from showcasing your inventory, sharing vehicle specs, or providing video walkthroughs with WhatsApp's rich media features, dealerships can securely share quotes, contracts and other documentation. Create immersive, informative experiences for your customers without them ever setting foot in your showroom.

    Benefits of integrating your DMS with WhatsApp

    Smooth data flow

    Integrating your DMS with WhatsApp creates a smooth flow of information. It’s like a race car going into a pit stop, with every part being taken care of. 

    Integrating your DMS with WhatsApp creates a flow of information that’s as seamless as a Red Bull F1 pitstop. Customer data, vehicle information, and service history are all at your fingertips during every interaction, allowing dealerships to have more informed and personalised communication.

    Automated workflows

    Dealerships can trigger automated messages via WhatsApp based on specific DMS events. For example, when a vehicle is ready for pickup after service, an automated WhatsApp message can be sent to the customer, streamlining the entire process.

    Enhanced reporting and analytics

    By integrating WhatsApp with your DMS, you can track customer interactions, measure response times, and analyse conversation outcomes – all within your existing reporting framework. This increased analytics capability allows you to optimise processes, in turn boosting:

    • Customer satisfaction: When you analyse and understand response times and conversation outcomes, you gain a better understanding of your customers and can work towards increasing loyalty and boosting NPS scores. 

    • Revenue growth: Analyse which types of messages and interactions lead to sales or service bookings. This allows you to focus more on what works

    • Operational efficiency: Identify bottlenecks, like slow response times and commonly asked questions and address them to streamline operations and reduce costs.

    Improved inventory management

    Real-time integration allows sales staff to check inventory, vehicle specs, and availability instantly during customer chats, facilitating quicker and more accurate responses.

    Streamlined appointment scheduling

    Sync WhatsApp interactions directly with your DMS calendar, making it easy for customers to book test drives or service appointments without the risk of double-booking or human error.

    How to get started with WhatsApp for automotive

    Before we dive into WhatsApp’s DMS integration, there are steps you can take to leverage WhatsApp’s power for your dealership. First, let's understand the two types of WhatsApp for Business solutions available:

    1. WhatsApp Business mobile app

    1. Perfect for small businesses

    2. Free mobile app that can be installed on up to 4 different devices

    3. Ideal for direct customer chat from mobile devices

    4. Available on the web, Apple and Android

    1. WhatsApp Business platform

    1. Perfect for medium to large businesses

    2. Designed for larger operations with higher volume needs 

    3. Requires integration with the WhatsApp Business API

    4. Often implemented through solution providers like Cue for advanced features like chatbots, live chat, and broadcasts

    Depending on your dealership’s size and needs, here are the steps to get started with WhatsApp for business:

    1. Choose the right WhatsApp solution

    • Small dealerships: Start with the WhatsApp Business mobile app

    • Larger dealerships: Consider the WhatsApp Business Platform

    1. Set up your business profile

    • Create a detailed profile with your dealership's information, hours, and contact details

    1. Define a WhatsApp strategy

    • Identify key areas for improvement (e.g., sales inquiries, service appointments)

    • Set clear, measurable goals for your WhatsApp communication

    1. Train your team:

    • Educate staff on WhatsApp best practices and communication guidelines

    • Establish response time expectations

    1. Set up basic automation

    • For the mobile app: Set up quick replies and away messages

    • For the Business Platform: Develop simple chatbot flows or message templates

    1. Create a simple lead capture system

    • Use WhatsApp to collect and organize customer information

    • Establish a follow-up process for leads

    1. Experiment with broadcasts:

    • Build an opt-in list for updates and promotions

    • Send targeted messages about new inventory or services

    1. Gather Customer Feedback:

    • Send short surveys after interactions

    • Use insights to improve your WhatsApp strategy

    Best practices for using WhatsApp in the automotive industry

    Automotive sales

    • Lead generation: Use WhatsApp chatbots, click-to-WhatsApp ads or web widgets to capture leads from your website or social media channels.

    • Test drive bookings: Make it easy for customers to book test drives through WhatsApp, providing a frictionless experience.

    • Personalised follow-up: Using WhatsApp for marketing allows you to send tailored messages to prospects based on their interests and interactions, nurturing leads towards conversion.

    After-sales support

    • Proactive engagement: Dealerships can use WhatsApp to send post-sales surveys, gather feedback, conduct NPS surveys and offer personalised support.

    • Service reminders: Use WhatsApp broadcasts to automate appointment reminders, recall notifications, and vehicle health reports to keep customers informed and engaged.

    • Targeted broadcasts: Send special offers or event invitations to specific customer segments based on their preferences or service history and route customers into a conversation with your chatbots based on their responses.

    Automotive customer service

    • Instant updates: Create different types of WhatsApp templates and notify customers via WhatsApp when their vehicle is ready for pick-up, providing a convenient and timely service.

    • Simplified scheduling: Let customers book service appointments directly through WhatsApp, eliminating the need for back-to-back phone calls.

    • Real-time communication: Answer service-related questions instantly with WhatsApp live chat. Share repair estimates, and keep customers in the loop throughout the process.

    Future trends in integrating a DMS with WhatsApp

    The automotive industry is consistently evolving, and the ability to integrate dealer management systems with WhatsApp is going to become an increasingly important component of successful dealership operations. Here’s what to look out for:

    • Artificial intelligence agents: Expect to see a rise in the integration of AI-powered chatbots in the DMS-WhatsApp ecosystem. These automated, virtual agents can handle a wide range of customer inquiries, from scheduling service appointments to providing personalised product recommendations, all while maintaining a smooth and natural conversation.

    • Omnichannel customer experience: Integrating your DMS with WhatsApp will become part of a broader omnichannel strategy, where dealerships can easily connect all of their communication channels, including social media, email, and in-person interactions, to provide a consistent and personalised customer experience across all touchpoints.

    • Predictive analytics and personalisation: Dealerships will have a lot of data at their fingertips thanks to the integration. They can leverage these insights to anticipate customer needs, tailor their marketing efforts, and deliver highly personalised experiences through WhatsApp.

    • Conversational commerce: This integration allows room for more convenient conversational commerce, where customers can complete multiple transactions directly through WhatsApp. These can include vehicle reservations, financing applications, and service bookings.

    • Better collaboration and workflow automation: The integration between a DMS and WhatsApp allows dealerships to streamline internal workflows and facilitate better collaboration between sales, service, and other departments in an effort to boost efficiency.

    How to Integrate your DMS with Cue

    1. Assess your DMS capabilities: Cue will evaluate your current DMS, your API and its integration capabilities. This is to determine whether your DMS has built-in WhatsApp integration features or if you'll need to explore third-party solutions to facilitate the integration.

    2. Identify your integration requirements

      1. After assessing the capabilities, Cue will define what is or isn’t possible within the integration. 

      2. At this point, you’ll need to clearly define the specific features and functionalities you want to achieve by integrating your DMS with WhatsApp. This may include automated notifications, customer information access, targeted marketing campaigns, or other specific use cases.

    3. Set up the integration: Once everything has been ironed out, Cue can either set up the integration for you or support your team in setting it up.

    4. Monitor and optimise: Continuously monitor the performance of the integrated system, track customer engagement, and make adjustments as needed. Analyse the data and insights gathered to further optimise your DMS-WhatsApp integration and enhance the overall customer experience.

    Ready to shift your customer service into higher gear? Don't let your competition leave you in the dust. Contact Cue today for a personalised demo and discover how our WhatsApp-DMS integration can transform your dealership's operations.

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    Ready to reach customers with WhatsApp?

    Grow sales by 160%

    Cut service costs by 73%

    Boost responses by 40%

    WhatsApp for Business solution by Cue