For years, dealers have used product quality and driving experience to grab the attention of shoppers, but as the marketplace becomes more crowded with dealerships that are able to offer similar products and options, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for dealerships to differentiate themselves based on these qualities alone and sell more cars. Product quality has increased over the years, and vehicles are equipped with more extra features, increased safety, and the latest and greatest in car design—all forcing dealerships to differentiate themselves in a different way: customer experience.
Not just in automotive, but across the board, customer experience has quickly risen to the top of the list of things shoppers are looking for when choosing brands. It is so important, in fact, that 80% of U.S. consumers would pay more for a product or service in order to ensure a positive customer experience.
So what is a great customer experience? When your dealership is able to manage overall customer relationships in a positive way by being responsive, proactive, and aware of consumer needs, you’ll go a long way toward creating an environment shoppers are looking for to sell more cars. Begin by understanding your customers and then build relationships that help you deliver exactly what they’re looking for—and you’ll earn the loyalty of shoppers who know you’re taking the time to do things right.
The professionals at your dealership should strive to deliver the ultimate customer experience—for every shopper, every time. Today’s consumers are discerning, and because there are endless online resources where they can research and share, they won’t hesitate to shop around for the businesses that have been able to consistently meet the needs of shoppers and earn positive feedback. For your dealership, this means consistently providing top quality experiences your shoppers will want to share to sell more cars. Here are 3 ways you can ensure you’re the best in the business:
1. Connect with consumers where they’re most comfortable. Before ever leaving their homes—and while on the go—consumers do research. It’s important to have specific information about every vehicle in your inventory available online so shoppers can access all the details they need before they ever set foot on your lot. When you have a strong online and social presence, consumers will feel more confident in choosing your dealership. Be sure to allow access to paperwork, make online appointment setup a breeze, and ensure they can ask questions ahead of time, so they can get down to the business of buying cars as soon as they arrive at your dealership. For many shoppers, convenience and efficiency play a huge role in the overall experience, and when you facilitate these, you’ll earn their business and their trust.
2. Innovate your waiting area. Waiting is inevitable. As much as we work to speed up the car-buying process, there are still certain aspects that take time. Many dealerships are looking to innovation to help them combat the antsy feeling shoppers get while waiting. Forget old TVs and magazines; now, dealers have upgraded to free wifi, gourmet coffee, spic-and-span play areas for kids, cafes, luxury seating, and more. Some are even going over the top with salons and workout areas to keep customers occupied during longer wait times. Globally, Audi has implemented an innovative showroom concept, where all available models can be experienced in a single digital simulation. While your plans for innovation may not include an innovative showroom, when you’re planning to update, be sure to get to know your customers, their needs and wants, and be sure to focus on providing things that will appeal to them most. They’ll notice you took the time to make them more comfortable.
3. Build brand loyalty. A personalized experience is something every customer is looking for, especially when purchasing big-ticket items like new vehicles. When you get to know your customers and prospects and add value to your interactions, you’ll give them plenty of reasons to seek you out in the marketplace when it’s time to buy. Be sure you build solid relationships with consumers well before they’re looking to purchase by interacting with them online, offering quality content, and answering any questions they may have. By sharing industry news and updates and engaging consumers well before they have an automotive need, you’ll position yourself to be their dealership of choice when the time is right. By building relationships, you’ll build brand loyalty.
In today’s market, consumers wield quite a bit of power. Competition is fierce, and dealerships can no longer rely solely on product quality and driving experience to sell more cars. Instead, those who win over shoppers are doing so by offering excellent customer experiences. You’ll win shoppers with top-of-the-line service and a responsive sales team that’s dedicated to providing individualized attention and support.