How Mature Is Your CX Approach

Customer-centricity for dealerships


The six stages of customer experience maturity for dealerships

February 19, 2020


According to the Tempkin Group's research - summarized in fine form here - there are six stages a business traverses. Its customer experience maturity model goes from virtually nothing to a robust, customer-centric standard set of practices.

  • Ignore
  • Explore
  • Mobilize
  • Operationalize
  • Align
  • Embed

These stages range from “oblivious to customer experience entirely” to “everything we do ultimately is focused on service to our customers”.

It’s unlikely that, in 2020, many dealerships (or any business, for that matter) are so unenlightened as to willfully ignore customer experience. Most of us would agree that we should be aiming for that sixth and final stage of our-customers-rave-about-us-to-anyone-who’ll-listen awesomeness. The reality is that many dealerships fall somewhere between the two.

So, where is your dealership on the customer experience maturity model?

It's a pretty safe bet that if you've read this far, you're not ignoring customer experience. You're, at the very least, exploring what CX means and how a customer-centric way of operating can benefit your dealership.

Maybe you’ve tiptoed toward mobilizing a CX strategy. You considered some pain points automotive customers typically feel and started changing some of your day-to-day ways of working. You recognized the issues that drag on car shoppers and have traditionally colored the reputation of the vehicle purchase experience negatively. You’ve dedicated staff to giving your customers a vehicle shopping experience capable of changing those perceptions.

You get it. But what do you do next?

It’s one thing for a megabrand to dedicate entire departments to CX management. How can a dealership provide an experience on par with an Amazon or Best Buy? It’s a tall order, but those are the kinds of experiences your customers have come to expect. Approaching stage 4– operationalizing – and beyond can be daunting for a dealership. How do you manage to make customer-centricity the norm without a dedicated CX department?

The answer is twofold.

Make your whole dealership the CX department.

OK. So this may seem like skipping ahead a couple of steps and landing at a fully mature customer experience as the day in, day out default way of conducting business.

But it is possible.

Setting yourself up for success in CX comes down to having a standard, repeatable, customer-focused plan for each function within your dealership. From greeting your customers to getting them spare keys to selling them their next vehicle, your team must be on point.

Align your processes so that your customers are front-and-center at all times. Then, everyone on your team becomes empowered as part of a smooth-running, well-tuned customer experience machine.

This extends beyond the public-facing parts of your business. Make sure your HR processes reflect a dedication to customer-centric ideals and behaviors. This commitment to hyper-focused customer-centricity is then expressed internally and externally to your team and your customers alike in everything you do.

An operationalized and measured framework for making the best CX practices the norm needs to be in place. This ensures that every consumer touchpoint falls in line with the next two steps toward customer experience maturity. By making customer-centricity the main ingredient in a structured set of processes, you bake it into every interaction.

Align and embed with a mature CXM solution.

The last three stages of CX maturity are where dealerships realize the most remarkable results.

An outstanding dealership experience compelled a veteran business performance consultant to change his perspective on technology and CX. He outlines a few things that functionally mature, sixth-stage CX companies do:

  • Engage teams with strategic and operational decisions driven by customer insights
  • Deliver on the CX commitment at every touchpoint
  • Leverage sustainable, data-backed processes for the best customer experience

Reaching maturity of CX development at your dealership is possible. But unless you have Amazon-sized resources, going it alone isn't an option. You're going to need help.

Create seamless processes for seamless customer experiences.

Your customers want a smooth, individualized experience that feels timely, relevant, and personable.

A platform dedicated to providing great CXM will make it appear seamless, but behind the scenes, it takes some heavy lifting. Easy-to-follow processes are needed for your team to meet any customer need in short order. A single, accessible 360-degree view of your customer’s journey makes it easy for any team member to pick up where another left off with no more than a couple of clicks.

Meeting your customers’ expectations takes a purpose-built, dealership-specific CX management solution and a dedicated team. We can help you with that first half.

Want to learn more about breathing life into your dealership's CX? Our ebook for dealerships will guide you through the six stages of the customer experience maturity model in no time.

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