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5 unique customer experience best practices to try this year

Auto dealerships must provide one-of-a-kind customer experiences that will keep their clients coming back for years to come.

Customer experience is the number one brand differentiator. It is the holistic perception of customers and their interactions with an organization and its products and services throughout their relationship. Customer experience best practices heavily impact the Es in the value chain: Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Experience. You cannot have efficiency and effectiveness without experience.

The experience impacts all areas of business, feelings, and emotions and encompasses the entire customer journey. Auto dealerships must provide one-of-a-kind customer experiences that will keep their clients coming back for years to come.

The most common causes for bad customer experiences include difficult purchasing processes, negative experiences with customer support, compromising a customer’s security, waiting too long on hold, and ignoring customer feedback. Such mishaps violate consumer expectations. In fact, a Forbes Insights Report found that “83% of executives feel unimproved customer experience presents them with considerable revenue and market share risks.”

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To rapidly address customer problems and drive innovation, dealerships must develop a set of principles, best practices, workflows, and trust in the hands of valuable employees. Such a transformation is important as it results to change in mindsets, behaviors and capabilities, technology enablement, and performance management.

Here are five tailored customer experience best practices that will help you improve customer satisfaction and increase revenues:

1. Create a clear customer experience vision

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Dealership staff, especially management, must buy in to a customer-centric strategy to ensure cross-department collaboration. Connect your front-line employees to the customer strategy at this stage as well.

Next, create a set of guiding principles. These set of rules will drive the behavior of your team and they must be embedded into all areas of training and development.

Such an approach can help in the re-alignment of dealership culture, training, work processes, and reward systems.

Consider incorporating new digital tools or partnering with a trusted vendor to redesign the customer experience.

2. Understand your customers and create an emotional connection

One way to understand customers is to segment them. Create personas to understand them better. Get to know the details of their needs, wants, and fears. This helps your organization to connect and empathize with the situations that your customers face.

By providing a memorable customer experience, consumers are three times more likely to purchase and recommend your product or service if they have an emotional connection with your brand.

Distinctive customer touchpoints trigger customers’ emotions, giving them a higher lifetime value, encouraging loyalty, satisfaction, and repeat purchases.

86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience. (American Express Global Customer Service Barometer)

3. Empower your workforce, and invest in your frontline

How can you tell if you are cultivating customer experience best practices? Getting customer feedback helps you know what customers think about the quality of your service compared to the customer experience principles you have defined.

Therefore, the use of a quality framework for the development of your team at every level makes them understand the individualized customer experience strategy.

They also need simple problem-solving frameworks that are used throughout the organization to promote cross-hierarchical dialogue. The quality framework takes this assessment one step further by scheduling and tracking your team’s development through coaching, eLearning, and group training.

The front office serves as the face of an employer. Often, it is the first and sometimes only people whom the clients meet. This is not so different from other employees. Too many companies are content to hire front-line staff without carefully considering whether they possess the right attitude and values to represent their brand.

The elephant in the room is what should be done to cure an institutional customer experience gap. The answer is: invest in them.

4. Grant employees the opportunity to experiment

Most employees in the value zone know what ail a company. Sometimes even before management does or, at least, before management is willing to admit it. They see not only service breakdowns but also opportunities to deliver unmatched customer satisfaction in innovative ways. For that reason, an organization needs to act upon continuous employee feedback.

This can be done using tools that allow staff to share ideas on how to improve the customer experience and for managers to see how the staff is feeling towards the business. The use of project management software or social media tools can leave continuous feedback.

Also, teaching front-line leaders the basics for designing simple experiments enables organizations to test many more ideas than could ever be orchestrated centrally.

For example, at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos often leaves an empty chair at meetings to represent the “customer’s voice.” It has a data-driven culture that actively encourages employees to build experiments based on customer insight.

5. Eliminate the barriers and unnecessary bureaucracy

The biggest problem with the old-age organization structure is that it does not support the people who truly create value for customers. It gives a leader too much power and prevents the organization from becoming a bit more democratized.

Introduce a culture of trust. Lack of trust among employees and management is a barrier to change of culture. There are many ways to build trust, but one specific trust-building action is pushing the ‘envelope of transparency’.

Finally, break down unnecessary silos, bureaucracy, decision processes, or administrative work that impedes the front line to expeditiously serve customers.

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Anna Delvillar
Anna Delvillar
Anna is the editorial and programming coordinator at CBT News. She graduated with a B.A. in English Composition from Georgia State University. She is an enthusiastic and skilled media professional with high-caliber communication skills, and has five years of experience performing multimedia writing, editing, and publishing for automotive, tech, and small business media.

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