It might have been conceived as a lead-generation tool, but the Cadillac Live digital showroom has spawned several unintended benefits, a company spokesman says, enhancing the brand’s value for dealers and customers.
The program, launched in 2019, was designed to connect live agents with customers on demand or by appointment, often outside of dealership hours.
However, dealers have other uses for the platform, from staff training to customer service, said James Nava, national marketing and communications manager for Cadillac Canada.
Cadillac Live “in general is meant to help answer consumer needs and questions,” Nava said. But “we’re open to exploring different options and evolving the platform.”
Some of the ways dealers are using Cadillac Live:
STAFF TRAINING: The Cadillac Live showroom has featured vehicles that have not yet arrived at dealerships. For example, as of December 2019, the only Cadillac CT4 in the country is the one on Cadillac Live.
Individual salespeople or entire sales teams call in to Cadillac Live from dealerships to request product walkarounds, which help them field early questions from customers. Some dealers are taking this a step further, Nava said, incorporating Cadillac Live into their Monday morning sales meetings and requesting walk-arounds of a different vehicle each week as a form of ongoing training.
So far, this part of the program has been unstructured, but Cadillac is exploring ways to expand its application, Nava said.
“In 2020, we’ll likely have a program in place where we can do dealership training,” he said. “In the past, we’ve gone physically to locations, bringing vehicles across the country. This will help us bring training more frequently to dealerships and more cost-effectively for them.”
CUSTOMER VIP NIGHTS: Some dealers use Cadillac Live as a tool for entertaining their most important clients and providing a premium experience. Through customer VIP evenings, dealers host events in their showrooms that allow customers to see an unveiling of a new model as well as a big-screen virtual walkaround of the same or another product via Cadillac Live.
“We recently had a VIP product reveal here at the dealership for the new Cadillac CT5 sedan,” said Tony Wilson, dealer principal at Ontario Motor Sales Chevrolet-Cadillac in Oshawa, Ont.
“Although we were unable to get the smaller CT4 to physically show our guests, we were able to log on to Cadillac Live in our showroom to have an agent demonstrate some of the key features to our 75-plus guests in attendance.
“The experience of visiting a beautiful-looking remote Cadillac showroom to go through the CT4 was…impressive, and I gather many of [the guests] would be returning home to continue to research these new launches.”
POST-DELIVERY CUSTOMER TRAINING: Cadillac Live has become an after-sales resource that allows new owners who need assistance with unfamiliar features to receive answers to their questions from their homes or offices. This not only is convenient for customers but saves time and resources for dealerships.
“When they’ve started to drive the vehicle, [customers] may have questions, but they don’t want to go back to the dealership to ask them,” Nava said. The agents “can show them how to set up Bluetooth or use the infotainment system.”
SERVICE EXPANDS TO U.S. BUT IS BASED IN TORONTO
Cadillac Live is currently available as a pilot program in Texas, California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York. If successful, there are plans to expand it across the country by the end of May.
While the U.S. market operates on an independent digital platform, the studio, inventory and staff that will handle all calls from across North America are based in an office in the east end of Toronto.
“As long as our agents can handle the call volume, we [will] use this space,” said James Nava, national marketing and communications manager for Cadillac Canada.
“There may be a point in time where we have so much volume and [have] ramped up the agent level as much as we can and we need another space, but we’ll look to do that at that point in time.”
Cadillac Live agents have been trained on the product differences between the Canadian and U.S. markets and are able to answer questions tailored to the customer’s location, which is visible to the agents before the connection is established.
While at least one French-speaking specialist is available at all times to serve the Canadian market, the U.S. expansion includes a part-time Spanish-speaking agent.
Since Cadillac Live launched in March 2019, the program’s hours have expanded to seven days a week from four, with four live agents plus a team leader available 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Of those who make calls to Cadillac Live, 18.7 per cent book a test drive with a Cadillac dealership, and eight per cent of those test drives result in a purchase, said Nava.