Trust is one of the most important factors consumers take into consideration when it’s time to choose a dealership. After all, a vehicle is likely the second largest purchase they will make, and the process of selecting and buying the right car can be stressful and lengthy. However, it can be alleviated and made slightly less taxing when dealerships are focused on building customer trust and fine-tuning the details that can pave the way to a smooth and easy transaction.
It’s no secret that today’s marketplace is driven by shopper insights, feedback, and preferences. Potential customers look to previous customers for word-of-mouth referrals, either in person or via social media, so it’s imperative that dealerships make good impressions—from the very first customer contact until each vehicle is driven off the lot. And to keep up the momentum, exceptional service should continue into the service drive every time a customer returns for maintenance or repairs. Every step that’s taken to build shopper satisfaction is a solid step toward building trust in a dealership’s brand, and that’s what will continue to bring shoppers back time and again.
There are several ways your dealership can work to create shopper trust, and by implementing them, you’ll influence buyers and ensure they return to you for repeat purchases, as well as maintenance work. The future of your dealership begins by reaching current shoppers, and in turn, those shoppers will reach out organically to their networks and share the positive experiences they’ve had at your dealership, helping you grow your potential customer base.
To be sure you’re fostering trust in your consumers, take a look at the following and strive to implement them in some form at your dealership:
Go where the shoppers are. Buyer behavior in just about every industry has changed, and with a majority of consumers looking to the internet for information and updates, it’s important to meet them there with helpful and meaningful content in order to build your reputation. 73% of all internet users confirm they use social networking sites, and a full 90% of millennials who use the internet confirm the same, indicating that for your dealership, social media is an extremely important place to be. To gain trust from consumers, be sure to share with them on popular platforms, maintain a steady presence, and interact regularly.
Respond to online feedback. 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews, and when your dealership responds to online reviews quickly and authentically, you’ll strengthen ties with your consumers. Be ready to react to both positive and even not-so-positive feedback in a proactive, professional way that lets shoppers know you’re capable of taking care of customers and ensuring their ultimate satisfaction. This will go a long way toward ensuring potential future customers of your dedication to providing the best possible dealership experience.
Leverage your professionals. Whether it’s on the showroom floor or via online social interaction, put your pros to work sharing and interacting with consumers. You’ll be showing potential customers the breadth of knowledge that exists in your dealership, and you’ll also be demonstrating the eagerness of your staff to interact and help them through their car-buying journeys. Every pro in your dealership has a unique set of skills and insights, and when they use them to engage potential customers, you’ll end up with more business for your dealership.
Keep your promises. Whether you offer the fastest before-work oil changes, the most comfortable waiting area, or the friendliest dealership staff, ensure your dealership keeps its word by auditing your processes and looking for ways you can continuously improve to meet and exceed customer expectations. Word spreads quickly, especially with the help of social media, and you want to be sure customers are talking about the various ways your dealership keeps its promises and meets the needs of shoppers.
Take transparency seriously. Today’s shoppers are accustomed to having information at their fingertips. Smartphones make it possible to fact check just about anything at any time, and consumers have no qualms about comparison shopping right on your lot. Your best bet is transparency. In fact, Edmunds recently found 54% of consumers say their largest unmet need online is having access to actual price and payment information. Whether you’re working on offering online transparency or better, more accurate in-store information, customers will appreciate an up-front, honest approach that gives them early access to the information they need when making large purchasing decisions. You’ll earn the trust of more shoppers by being forthcoming and transparent with information as often as possible.
Make it convenient. It’s true; car buying isn’t as convenient as buying a pizza for dinner, however, there are ways to make the process slightly easier for shoppers—and those are the things you can focus on to earn shopper loyalty. As proof of consumers’ affinity for online shopping, Edmunds discovered 89% of shoppers walk into dealerships prepared to purchase specific vehicles. While you may not be able to offer a click-online-to-buy option just yet, you can consider offering things like the ability to complete preliminary paperwork online, the option to return at a later time to pick up a detailed vehicle, or even credit pre-approvals to save time. Get creative and think of all the ways—large and small—your dealership might be able to offer conveniences throughout the car-buying process.
The more you are able to cater to modern consumers’ needs as they shop for and purchase vehicles, the more trust you’ll build. You’ll set your dealership up to be recognized as one that listens to shoppers, pays attention to their needs, and strives to offer the best in customer care. By standing out as a business that goes out of its way to offer expertise, convenience, and transparency to all shoppers, you’ll earn the trust of shoppers, and in turn, they will spread the word about the positive experiences they’ve had at your dealership.