People forget, they don’t show, they’re late, or they have to reschedule at the last minute. Each scenario introduces a number of additional logistical hurdles and headaches.
From the customer or seller perspective, there are other reasons why they are motivated to act a certain way regarding their appointment. In this case, there are three different actions we want the seller to take, and we must consider their motivations for doing each one.
From that point, we can identify specific tactics that will help us achieve the best outcome.
Avoid having someone forget to add an appointment to their calendar by sending a calendar invite via calendar, email or text right after the appointment is booked. This gives them an opportunity to add it to their schedule and reduces the chance that they will get busy and forget.
One aspect of confirmation that is often overlooked is the importance of providing all the relevant information that someone would need to know before attending. It’s important to include parking, directions to the dealership, as well as bringing the extra set of keys and vehicle title that may be unknown to the seller when booking the appointment.
This is the level of motivation that a customer has to confirm and appear for their appointment, based on their own needs and desires. Although these desires are largely controlled by the person, you are able to exert some influence on their level of internal motivation by framing and reinforcing the importance of the appointment from their perspective.
Many companies send confirmation messages that focus on the basics — day, time, place — but not much else. This is a missed opportunity to reinforce why the person should want to attend their appointment.
Consider the fact that appointments are made for a specific reason. The person has a problem that they need to solve or something they are worried about and need answers. They are interested in selling their vehicle, reducing the stress and time constraints selling it on their own presents. Try sending a personalized confirmation that provides motivation. The point is to create a reminder of the underlying value of the appointment.
Outside of internal motivations, you also have external forces that give people motivation to take a certain action. These factors are things like social norms, rewards, and other systems and processes that encourage people to either take an action or deter them from doing so.
These motivations can come in a number of forms, and you can use them to your advantage to reinforce the internal motivations that someone has and give them an additional reason to stick with their scheduled meeting.
Make sure that appointment holders know their spot is important in your schedule and that their actions will affect others. This will provide some social pressure that will help keep things running smoothly. Try sending a message that clearly says that by confirming their appointment, they will be locking in a block of time meant just for them — and that other people will be counting on them to follow through on that confirmation.
Lastly, but not least, customers need to feel adequately prepared for their appointment. Even if customers have numerous internal and external motivations for attending, they may not show up if they feel unprepared or too stressed out. Do they know where they are going? Where they will park? The time, date, and who they will be seeing? Giving your customers confidence goes a long way to ease any fears or anxiety about the appointment.
Mark is Director, Dealer Development at Vehicle Acquisition Network. His experience includes the design, development and management of performance improvement, training and technology solutions as well as the successful implementation of large scale, multi-year projects for companies including Ford, Navistar, BMW, Rolls Royce and MINI.