Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, email. These days, there are endless opportunities to create rapport with your customers online. Interacting with them on these channels is a necessity to keep your dealership sales on fire.

If you want to make sure you’re staying on-trend in terms of digital customer engagement, here are the top five 2019 predictions for the best ways to engage your customers online.

1. Digital Data = The Key to More Sales

More than ever, companies have data on their customer base at their disposal—details like how long have they been a customer, how often do they shop, when is their birthday, etc. In our information era, people are coming to expect more personalization. And for a good reason: think about how it would feel to be greeted by name every time you walk in to service your vehicle.

The quality of the ‘human touch’ in customer service will fundamentally increase because more data will be available for your employees. Human interaction will become tech-augmented in a way that will start to feel commonplace, and quickly become the expected standard. This development is essential not only because it allows individual interactions to be much faster, but it also helps your dealership personalize these interactions more effectively.

2. ‘Local’ Becomes Even More Important

This should go without saying, but the more you can target your local area for interested parties, the more customers you will likely get. This is because when your online content is geotagged to your area, people using online searches or voice searches (more on that later) to find a car dealership, or somewhere to service their vehicle, search engines like Google will route them to the closest locales—which will include you. Local SEO is incredibly important, and with the digital landscape becoming more competitive as time passes, it’s more crucial than ever to optimize ALL your landing pages, Facebook ads, and most of your social posts for local search.

3. Voice Search is already the “Next Big Thing”

Prepare yourselves: voice search is taking the world by storm. No matter if you are on Team Alexa or Team Google Home, it cannot be denied that these virtual assistants are fast becoming invaluable resources in millions of homes across America. These technologies are now the new filter for how customers get exposed to brands and make decisions about them. They make it easy for customers to cut out the fluff and get straight to the point. Instead of searching online for “Honda dealerships nearby” and then browsing through the results and all the accompanying webpages, all one must ask is: “Alexa, find a Honda dealer near me.” This is a definite improvement for the customer experience.

4. Chatbots are Evolving

Over the last few years, Chatbots have been often overlooked in the world of customer-facing technology solutions and social media innovations. The general consensus surrounding the bots has been, “Why bother with something that’s doing all right when I can focus on my Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat strategy?”. Because they have been around longer, chatbots just haven’t lived up to their potential so far. But in 2019, that looks set to change.

The focus now is creating bots that hone in on proactive communication with customers. Instead of simple pop-ups asking customers if they have any questions or need help with anything, chatbots can engage customers in ways that are more conversational, more helpful, and less abrasive. An excellent example of the evolution of chatbots is our friends at Gubagoo. Their chat offers a level of personal engagement that helps the potential shopper have an overall better experience as they begin to shop online. Chat is already becoming a staple on business’ webpages, especially for after-hours queries from interested site-users.

5. Emotional Engagement is Key to Earning a Customer’s Trust

Now, more than ever, customers want to feel like they have an emotional connection to your business. People want to see companies giving back, hosting charity events, and showing that they stand for something besides making a profit. They also want to see your human side—posts about employees and their families/pets, customer spotlights, and interactions (like emails and phone calls) that are personalized. In this digital age, people, more than anything, value genuineness. Don’t be afraid to be real (albeit politely)!

So there you have it—five of the top customer engagement trends for the 2019 year. What other digital trends have you heard about that are taking the industry by storm? Drop us a line—we’d love to hear from you!