A key theme throughout the recent Auto Finance Summit19 was how auto lenders are changing communication practices to enhance the customer experience (CX). One session really resonated with me, when Chris Mitcham, senior vice president of business development, service for others at Santander Consumer USA, offered valuable tips about surpassing customer expectations.
Here are his top suggestions:
1. Go Digital
- Capitalize on the welcome letter, which has a high open rate, to ask for consent for digital communication including the preference for email or text.
- At the call center, make sure employees’ screens are configured to ask about opting in for digital and that they have a script that covers digital options in language that’s easy to understand. Train your teams to ask for consent early and often for text and email.
- Once you’ve secured digital consent, use a smart survey, to find out the best time to reach customers so you don’t email or text when they are working.
2. Be Responsive
An inquiry made by text or email should get a quick placeholder response using the customer’s first name. The initial response would be, “Thank you for your inquiry,” adding the specific time frame when more information will be provided. Also, keep in mind that the email subject line is not as important as it used to be, Mitcham said. Because many people read emails on their mobile phones, the first sentence is what pops and gets their attention.
3. Get a Digital Plan Ready Now for the Next Economic Slowdown
In the past, customers have made a concerted effort to stay current with an auto loan during economic downturns because they need their car to get to work. With the increase in car sharing and public transportation, that consumer strategy could wane the next time the economy slows.
Making sure a lender’s customers stay current, even by an additional one or two percentage points, can make a sizeable difference in a lending portfolio’s revenue. So, it’s more important than ever to know how customers want to communicate and pay.
4. Embrace Omnichannel Options
It’s important to replace outdated technology with solutions that open up omnichannel options. Connecting with customers by phone is becoming more difficult by the day and eventually will be materially limited. Catering to a proliferation of channels doesn’t have to require a major IT investment and overhaul, though. If lenders can produce a data file from their system, industry vendors offer a myriad of high-tech solutions to help take customer communications and digital engagement to the next level.
That’s, of course, music to my ears.
Our Expresso® CCM platform, which enables auto lenders to develop and send both paper and digital communications, can help auto lenders surpass customer expectations. Seamlessly paired with our ExpressoPay® electronic bill presentment and payments system, Nordis makes it fast and easy to provide omnichannel billing and payment choices.
Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help you meet the communications preferences of today’s consumers.
About the Author
Bryan joined Nordis Technologies in 2016 to manage and grow the company’s already-large vacation ownership client base. He also is responsible for business development and market expansion in the healthcare and financial services markets. Before joining Nordis, Bryan spent more than 21 years with Interval International, a leading global provider of vacation ownership services. Bryan graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor of science in political science.
Bryan Ten Broek
VP Business Development