Reynolds & Reynolds, one of the two major dealer management system providers, has announced a new service to verify the validity of consumer e-mail addresses. Apparently, many postal addresses have corresponding e-mail addresses that Reynolds – already having home addresses of many customers from the initial car purchase – can use to match and verify e-mail information. The availability of this information is surprising.
But, more interestingly, we have found with ClearMechanic that there is a far easier way to secure a consumer’s e-mail address: 1) ask for it and 2) provide a good reason for the request. Currently, consumers believe that an e-mail address on file at dealerships simply means more unsolicited e-mail marketing. The widespread reluctance to give e-mail contact info has led dealer service centers to give up on asking for e-mail addresses or to ask with the expectation of failure.
With an online service like ClearMechanic, the Service Advisor can use the following script when consumers drop off vehicles for repairs:
Service Advisor: “Can I have an e-mail address that we can contact you at today regarding your repair?”
(Service Advisor can then hand a brochure on the benefits of ClearMechanic, including status updates, electronic invoices and the ability to approve / decline repairs online.)
This simple change has increased our pilot customers’ e-mail acquisition rates from 10-20% to 50-60%. The impact is staggering and immediate.
To be clear, ClearMechanic is not competitive with Reynolds’ e-mail service. In fact, the primary benefit of ClearMechanic is the improvement in trust and profitability that occurs during the actual repair sales process. Nonetheless, to the extent dealers are concerned with e-mail address acquisition and validity, the ClearMechanic product can be of great assistance.