The problem with being virtual for over 12 months straight is digital overload—and ultimately, digital fatigue.
Microsoft reported that over the past year:
- Weekly meeting time for Teams users has more than doubled and is still rising.
- Delivered emails increased by 40.6B, compared with the year prior.
- Chat traffic among Teams users has risen by 45%.
- Office documents usage is up 66% year-over-year.
Now, this is to be expected, and while those numbers theoretically should start to lessen as some industries become less virtual, many companies have decided to keep some of their work-from-home practices, and the habit of more meetings—and inevitable burnout—might not be easy to break.
This is an issue for industries and consumers alike, as more emails and digital content means more scrutiny on what messages we ignore. For automotive dealers, the crisis of digital overload needs to be tackled on two fronts:
- Dealer Fatigue – how can you as a dealer defeat your own digital fatigue?
- Consumer Fatigue – how can you reduce digital fatigue for your consumers?
First, limit your own communications where you can. LinkedIn shared recently that there are some automated practices already in place to help with digital overload:
“Microsoft now offers warning alerts on those late-evening emails that some work colleagues are prone to sending. The new prompt: Would you rather send that in the morning? (Click yes, and you can almost taste the gratitude.)”
Second, don’t overwork yourself. While dealers are used to long hours and no weekends, when shelter-in-place mandates took hold, virtual was the only way to do most non-work activities, and many people simply started working more, especially without a daily commute. This might make you more productive, but that productivity has a shelf-life if you take it too far.
Microsoft also reported that:
“Self-assessed productivity has remained the same or higher for many employees over the past year, but at a human cost. One in five global survey respondents say their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance. Fifty-four percent feel overworked. Thirty-nine percent feel exhausted.”
If you—or your team—is overworked, turnover is going to become a larger threat as well, as 41% of employees are considering leaving their current employer this year.
Finally, don’t allow yourself to be siloed—not between teams, not between an individual store compared to the group, not between your stores compared to the OEMs, and not between your store/group brand compared to the vendors keeping you running.
“When you lose connections, you stop innovating. It’s harder for new ideas to get in and groupthink becomes a serious possibility.”Dr. Nancy Baym, Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft
A semi-virtual environment with limited staffing over the past year may have made your remaining sales team more tightly knit but consider if that is true across other networks, including across both your sales and service teams.
Empower your employees—or ensure that you yourself are empowered—to make a hybrid environment viable as needed, continue to invest in and market your virtual options for purchasers and servicers while accommodating in-person visits where possible, and rebuild your networks that may have suffered these past 12 months to rekindle innovation for future success.
Now, imagine that most consumers are going to be attempting their own versions of the above—specifically, limiting emails and other digital engagement that is inundating them now more than ever. You don’t want to engage them more frequently, you want to engage them more effectively, when, where, and how they want to be engaged.
First comes data management, which goes beyond cleansing and normalizing addresses, removing duplicates, or consolidating data – but also includes how to best utilize other second and third-party sources to enhance your data.
Data enhancement is where additional vendor partnerships are a must. Various solutions can help you take consumer demographics, psychographics, previous transaction data, or whether a VIN is still owned by a consumer, to provide additional information on their propensity to engage with you.
Knowing a consumer’s propensity to engage is the second step. In an article last year, Outsell looked at the perils of sending graymail versus smart mail.
As HubSpot explained:
“Graymail is email that contacts have opted in to receive, but never open or click. Spam filters can identify and filter out emails that your recipients aren’t opening or clicking. This increases the likelihood that future emails will end up in the junk folder or spam filter. By continuing to send email to contacts who don’t open or click, you’re lowering your sender score overall.”
What you need is a tool that can predict a consumer’s propensity to engage and prevent you from overcommunicating and creating even more graymail. This is done by utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine how frequently to send communications to each consumer. Excluding certain consumers does not mean permanently excluding them or removing any valid consumer records from your database. Those customers and prospects are simply being “rested.”
“By reducing our volume of email sends by 42% from March to April in 2020, utilizing propensity to engage predictive models, Outsell saw an increase of 47% in Unique Opens. Data across industries has shown this to be the best answer to reduce spam complaints and increase Inbox Placement Rate (IPR) by upwards of 90%, thwarting deliverability issues and keeping currently unengaged consumers from becoming unreachable in the future.”
Finally, you need to look at buyer detection, or a consumer’s propensity to purchase or service, which is also directly tied to artificial intelligence. Equally, dealers need equity tools to pinpoint customers in a favorable equity position and who will likely want an upgrade.
When you understand your data and a consumer’s propensity to engage, as well as purchase or service with you, you can better communicate and connect with them personally, continuously, and automatically—reducing their digital fatigue and allowing your marketing to shine brightest.
Don’t let digital overload become digital fatigue. Learn how Outsell can help lighten your load—and help you lighten the load on consumers.