More customers are buying cars using a computer today, but one of a dealership's most critical tools — if not the most vital — dates back more than a century.
Some dealers have invested in or expanded the use of products that help shoppers do more of the transaction online — e-commerce platforms, chatbots, video tools, e-contracting — during a pandemic in which close human contact is discouraged.
Yet the phone is a technological sales tool at dealerships' disposal. Phone calls became more important during the coronavirus outbreak, especially while physical showrooms in some states were closed to walk-in and appointment traffic this spring, several dealership phone services providers told Automotive News. And they remain an indication of how serious a vehicle shopper is about buying.