Finding out a customer's preferred means of communication is a step towards a dealership establishing an ongoing line of communication.

It might be in person, on the telephone or via e-mails but a consumer truth is to “let the customer choose the channel of communication, choose how to engage with you,” advises Denise Chudy, head of automotive strategic development for Google.

An open line of communication also enhances a dealership's ability to capture customer information — including vehicle preferences and the number of driving-age family members — then use that information for current and future marketing.

“Customer information is among the most valuable things dealerships have, but that information often is not updated or used particularly well,” says Eric Johnston, Western regional general manager for Mazda North American Operations.