Dealerships have a unique opportunity to interact with consumers during one of the biggest and most important purchases they will ever make. Aside from buying a home, a vehicle purchase is likely one of the biggest decisions an individual or family will make, and because this buying situation can be stressful, consumers will actively choose to do business with dealerships that constantly explore new ways to improve the buying experience. For dealerships, it’s important to remember that when it comes to being innovative and creating an atmosphere of consumer-focused, positive change, things don’t have to be complicated or pricey. Below are 5 tips to help your dealership make big strides toward customer satisfaction with small, meaningful gestures:
Although extremely simple, greeting your customers with a smile can go a long way! Your employees are your brand ambassadors, and when they greet customers warmly, they immediately cast a positive light on your business, add to your trustworthiness, and encourage interaction. Additionally, the best dealerships ensure their professionals go above and beyond when it comes to their overall appearance, giving a neat and organized first impression to customers. Sales professionals are the face of your dealership, and that means customers will remember the interactions they have with them. By encouraging your professionals to leave the very best impressions with customers, you’ll boost your dealership’s reputation and increase your chances for sales, return customer visits, and word-of-mouth referrals. It begins with a smile, but your employees’ efforts at making great first impressions go a long way toward earning long-term shopper trust and loyalty.
Managers have the tough job of not only representing the entire business, but also ensuring their professionals represent the dealership in a way that will bring customers back. Work with your in-house pros to ensure they constantly communicate positive messages to every shopper who walks onto your lot or your showroom floor, and instill in them the importance of sending the right message to every customer. For example, it may be easy to point out the competition’s higher prices or slower turn-around times, but it’s always a good idea to stay focused on your dealership’s positive points, rather than focus on passing along negative feedback about others. Your professionals will give off good vibes by keeping all their communication aboveboard—and your customers will never have a reason to worry about negativity in your dealership. You’ll gain more respect and loyalty when your entire staff shows their professionalism to every customer, every time.
Over time, sales professionals become talented at reading the unspoken language of shoppers, and this can work to your advantage as you focus on earning trust. Encourage your pros to pay close attention to the way shoppers react when approached on the showroom floor and on the lot, leaning into moments when it’s ideal to offer more information, ask questions, and encourage further interaction. Many customers visit your dealership armed with information and research they’ve done regarding vehicles they’re shopping, so there’s a fine balance between overwhelming them and providing them with the details they need. By reading shopper reactions and being ready to respond quickly, you’ll be able to provide information that is helpful to their search—without coming across as pushy. As you’re looking to innovate, consider investing in technology that allows you to offer on-the-lot vehicle comparisons that allow you to quickly access the cars being considered—even makes and models you don’t sell. You may keep customers from shopping elsewhere simply by being able to access review and comparison information from your location. Whatever your customers are looking for, be sure to pay careful attention to their reactions, and encourage your sales pros to respond to individual needs on a case-by-case basis.
A recent AutoTrader study shows car shoppers would be more enthusiastic about the overall car-buying process if it took on changes in the areas of deal structuring, financing paperwork, and service. Dealerships that are willing to focus on these areas and make them smoother and more streamlined for shoppers will have the upper hand when it comes to making sales and earning repeat business. Think about ways your team can work together to solidify the buying process and ensure its efficiency. Are you able to incorporate new technology into your processes in order to make in-house communication easier and facilitate hand-offs between teams? For example, can you more quickly and efficiently get word to the detail team that a vehicle has been sold and should be cleaned and detailed before paperwork is even completed? When you are able to take small, time-saving steps to add convenience and efficiency to the overall process, your customers will notice your efforts. Additionally, ensure your team members are aware they can rely on each other as a team to take care of every customer. By allowing each team member to shine in his or her area of expertise, your customers will benefit from improved and speedier processes.
Every dealership wants to improve its image and likability, and in order to do that, you’ll want to focus on improving the relationship you have with individual consumers. Each of your shoppers wants to feel like your number one focus, and when you do things to make them feel included and recognized, your dealership will gain in the long run. Focus on doing your research, knowing customer names and whether or not they’ve purchased from you previously, as well as if they’re in a good position to trade. By innovating and ensuring you have the ability to keep up with shopper data and make customers feel as if you know them the second they walk through your doors, you’ll be able to offer complete customer service that will better assist them in purchasing their next vehicles. You’ll earn loyalty for your dealership by showing customers you remember the little things about them, and you’ll reassure shoppers you’re capable of seamlessly handling the more complicated details.
When you provide a positive customer experience every time, your dealership will enjoy continued growth and success. Work toward innovating and implementing the suggestions included above, and your dealership will be on the way to impressing customers with savvy gestures that leave a big impact and bring them back to your dealership for maintenance, repairs, and repeat purchases. The little things matter when it comes to building great customer relationships, and when your entire team is on board, your dealership will reap the rewards!