Today’s consumers are tuned in to businesses that can provide the best customer experiences, coupled with top-notch products and services. Whereas dealerships of the past were focused almost solely on the sales funnel, now it’s all about the shopper experience and how dealerships make customers feel—from the very first second they make contact with the dealership until their purchases are complete.
This month, we’ll be focused on the consumer experience and how it is changing—both due to the fast and furious innovations in technology, as well as consumer-driven moments that are influenced by a higher level of shopper information and interaction. Although we continuously plan for it, the future of automotive is now, and we are marketing cars to consumers who are more prepared and informed than ever before.
In order to gain the attention of today’s customers, dealerships must be on the lookout for what truly speaks to shoppers in the marketplace. Customers can walk into any dealership and find vehicles that meet their criteria, however, finding stand-out customer care is another story entirely. Dealerships that focus on providing a memorable, efficient, and innovative customer experience will be the ones shoppers turn to repeatedly for their vehicle needs.
After wrapping up the most recent NADA conference, dealership professionals everywhere have walked away with the most up-to-date information regarding shoppers and the experiences they’re looking for in the marketplace. Not only has technology exploded onto the automotive scene, allowing professionals to better connect with and serve shoppers when marketing cars, it is also offering powerful ways for your in-house pros to more efficiently communicate and interact with each other, all resulting in the ability to provide consumer experiences that stand out from the crowd.
While focusing on the consumer experience requires a change in thought processes and a shift from thinking solely about sales funnels, your dealership will reap the rewards of this updated thinking. Not only will consumers be more likely to turn to you for repairs, maintenance, and even repeat purchases, but they’ll also be more likely to share their positive experiences with friends and acquaintances, thereby boosting word-of-mouth recognition of your dealership. By providing the best possible consumer experience, from the very first encounter, you’ll be building a foundation for lasting relationships.
To help you get started, keep in mind several ways you can encourage both your dealership professionals and your customers:
Share with your employees. If you’re implementing new technology or processes, be sure to share with your entire staff and give them ample training to feel comfortable using the tools you’re providing. When you include your pros in your plans, they’ll feel like valuable team members, and they’ll put their talents to work helping the latest processes succeed.
Keep your tech in shape. New technology and tools are exciting, but before you get too carried away and release them for use, be sure to give everything a test run. Nothing is worse that tech that doesn’t work, because potential customers are likely to see it as a turn-off and take their inquiries and questions to other businesses.
Interact and listen. You’re probably already active on social media, but be sure to listen and interact with your customers to let them know you’re really paying attention to what’s important to them. When you have meaningful conversations, your followers will know you’re listening and taking their comments and suggestions to heart.
Invest in innovation. There is a lot of new technology out there, and you can’t invest in all of it, however, there are some great new products that will allow you to seamlessly communicate, reach in-market customers, and keep every employee actively sharing dealership news. Take time to find the most valuable tools for your dealership and put them to work in order to get the most return on your innovation investment.
Change is continuous, and the future is NOW. Technology is moving as quickly as dealerships can implement it, and that’s why it’s important to find the best tools that work for your business and use them to help you provide excellent consumer experiences while marketing cars. More than ever before, consumers are looking for businesses that can offer overall experiences, and dealerships that go the extra mile for shoppers will end up with an edge as shoppers continuously recognize them as preferred destinations.