Co-founder David Santoro explains how—with 1 in 4 phone calls made through the carwow site resulting in a car sale—Twilio Voice is an essential part of the service.
The traditional way to buy a new car stacks the cards firmly against the buyer. “A lot of our customers have previously bought a new car and had bad experiences with dealerships,” said Santoro. “We help make sure that they receive the best price and service, for the least amount of hassle.”
The carwow site allows potential buyers to select a car model and configuration. Within 24 hours, carwow sends the most relevant offers from dealerships across the UK. “The dealers on carwow are offering you the best discount they can so there’s no need to haggle," he said. "It’s a much more relaxing experience, savings users both money and time.”
The team realized that the service would function at its best with the ability to handle phone calls.
“Dealers really value calls, more so than emails and messages,” Santoro said. “We know that the dealers are good at selling cars and often a user will pay the deposit over the phone. So we focus on providing as much information to the user up front and then encouraging them to call when they’re ready.”
Santoro turned to Twilio Voice and had the API implemented within a day. When a buyer receives dealer offers, they have the option to call or email via the carwow interface. They can either call the dealer and enter a unique offer ID, or request a callback. In either case, the buyer’s phone number is not revealed to the dealer.
Initially, carwow provided one central contact number for customers, but this confused buyers who didn’t recognise the area code. The team then used the Twilio API to search for numbers that matched the local area code for each dealership.
Carwow can track how many calls a dealership receives. “We actually use calls as a performance metric for dealerships,” Santoro explained. “If you’re not selling a car after 8-10 calls, then something isn’t set up right within the dealership. If performance doesn’t improve, we will downgrade the dealership, resulting in less offers being sent on behalf of that particular dealership. An outstanding customer experience is at the heart of carwow’s success.”
On average, carwow sees a 25% conversion rate on calls: 1 of every 4 people who calls a dealership ends up buying a new car.
Crucially for the buyer, the carwow approach means an average of £3,600 knocked off the purchase price. The dealer is happy because it sells a vehicle, and carwow receives a flat £250 per sale.
As of September 2015, carwow has 612 active dealerships across the UK, with over 90,000 subscribed users per month. In August 2015, the service handled over 5,900 unique callers. In fact, Santoro said that 1% of all new car sales in the UK happen through carwow.
Santoro sees Twilio as an important factor in the company's success. “I don’t think our service would work without Twilio, especially as it is easy to implement and use. Anything more complicated than the way Twilio works would have hindered the business.”