How to Improve the Customer Experience
It’s always been “all about the customer” … or has it? Retail industries have been focused on the customer experience, but in recent years (and particularly last year), the importance of the customer experience has emerged as a non-negotiable part of business – and dealerships are no different.
The way customers connect with your brand is changing.
In recent years, there has been a major shift in how much control the customer has in the buying process. Companies like Netflix, Airbnb, Amazon and Uber have adjusted their business models to give the customer as much freedom as possible and provide a more personalized shopping experience. What we found in our 2017 Year-end Report reinforced the significance of putting the customer first.
Salespeople are the key to winning over your customers.
The quality of the customer’s interaction with a salesperson is directly tied to the quality of the experience they will have. Successful dealerships hire personable, empathetic people, and train them to take a consultative approach instead of using traditional sales tactics. These salespeople view their customers as peers, not as opportunities. Women and millennials — two markets that have the ability to enormously impact the auto industry — consistently said that the attitude of a salesperson had an impact on whether or not they would do business with a dealership. Sixty-three percent of millennials reported an overall negative experience with the auto industry, and 43 percent of women distrust the auto industry.
Give your customers a mobile and digital option.
Eighty-two percent of millennial shoppers would recommend a dealership with digitized workflows. Responsive websites, chat options, and texting are all features that today’s dealerships should incorporate. Eighty-five percent of millennials would also prefer an online chat option over email or picking up the phone; they’re willing to choose a dealership based on their willingness to adopt new technology. In a recent study, we found that 86 percent of retail shoppers prefer a dealer that offers the ability to buy online, and 68 percent of in-market shoppers expect these features to exist already.1 Millennials prefer to structure their purchase online, with 52 percent indicating that features like calculators and online walk-throughs provide them with more information from the start.1 This helps them feel more at ease when making a purchase. Online tools were important features to millennials because they help them save time at the dealership.
What does this mean for your dealership?
Think about your staffing! Salespeople that take a consultative approach to selling cars can help shoppers feel at ease when they walk onto your lot. Viewing customers as peers can make the difference in whether or not you’ll be successful. Try moving away from traditional sales roles and act as more of an expert. Dealers should focus on transparency and allow customers to use a price-discovery tool online instead of engaging in negotiations. Using technology to fill out paperwork and sign forms can alleviate stress and save your customers time. Lastly, help customers feel included in the decisions being made about their vehicles by using tablets to demonstrate features or show them which parts need service.
1 CDK Business Intelligence, 2016.