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Contactless appointments and test drives: How video can help

Despite an extremely challenging few months, the automotive industry can now breathe a little easier – dealerships have been open for over a month now (in England that is), demand is high and production is on the rise.


As dealers put their foot firmly back on the gas, it’s inevitable that some will have had to reimagine their standard operating procedures.

Although many will have already put the basics in place to ensure their dealerships are as contactless as possible, there are still likely to be many challenges and changes at each stage of the customer journey. In this blog, we’re going to look at two of these – appointments and test drives – and explore a few ways video might be able to help.

Using video for virtual customer appointments

In our last blog, we explored how dealerships are adapting their enquiry processes to work through the pent up demand generated during the lockdown. Namely, by using centralised, administrative teams to process enquiries more efficiently.

But when the time is right, these enquiries have to be passed on to a salesperson – who can give the customer a much more personalised and tailored look at the car they’re interested in.

At this part of the buyer journey, video can be used at two stages. Firstly, to confirm the appointment and introduce yourself, but secondly to hold the appointment itself, either using pre-recorded or live video.


In a pre-recorded video appointment (much like a traditional walkaround video), a sales executive can go into much more detail about the car. Showing off it’s key features, explaining the car’s history and, perhaps most importantly, building rapport with the customer.

Although you may be used to recording walkaround videos, the difference with a video appointment is that it’s used to replace the physical, on-site meeting. As a result, you may need to go into more detail.

For example, you might want to mention your onsite cleaning processes to reassure the customer when they come for a test drive – and of course, you may want to explain how the test drive will be carried out. Further information about your processes could also be appropriate, such as whether you’re operating via appointment only, or asking customers to park and wait when they visit the dealership.


Live video can also be used to hold a walkaround appointment, similar to the one we outlined above. The major difference here though, is that the communication is two-way, meaning customers can ask questions about the car in real-time.

For the “sit down” part of the typical appointment process, live video can also be really helpful. It allows you to discuss requirements, budget and timeframes – again, taking advantage of the two-way communication that live video can offer. All whilst remaining physically distanced from the customer.

How video can support the test drive experience

While social distancing measures remain in place, the traditional test drive is a definite no no. However, as most of you will be aware, the DVLA has announced that solo test drives will be allowed to take place.

Yet, while solo test drives used to be common practice, buyers will miss out on some of the dealer engagement that they had before. This is not only a downside for them – it also gives sales execs less opportunity to really emphasise the key features of the car.

Thankfully, video can help replace some of this dealer-customer engagement. For example, you may want to record a pre-test video, in which you demonstrate some of the key features people should explore during the drive – such as cruise control, infotainment systems, driving mode selectors and anything else that might wow the buyer.

And, with video functionality such as CitNOW Live Video, why not arrange a post-drive video call where the buyer can ask questions about the car and share their experience? Plus most importantly, you can talk about next steps and gauge levels of interest.

Practical video tips

If you’re thinking about using video in your reimagined appointment and test drive processes, it’s the perfect opportunity to work on your automotive video skills.

Check out our video-taking guide, or our How2CitNOW video series for our latest hints and tips.

We also have many other resources available to you including webinars, eLearning modules, and online guides. If you’re a CitNOW customer, our Customer Support team is also available on 01189 977740 or via email at help@citnow.com from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday (UK time).