Contrary to popular belief, even in these modern time, many individuals still want to purchase their vehicles in the showroom. According to a recent Autotrader study, 84 percent of car buyers want to buy their car in person. Remarkably, this number also includes millennials. So, even though technology seems to reign supreme, people still want a somewhat traditional vehicle buying customer experience. However, there are some shifts dealers can make to cut away inefficiencies to lift sales. Read on for eight ways exemplary customer service experiences can increase dealership sales.
Pull Instead of Push
While many of us think the first step in the buying process is the initial meeting between the customer and dealer, the process starts much earlier. The 2016 Autotrader Car Buyer study revealed that 88 percent of customers use the internet to research a car before purchasing it. This means they are spending much of their pre-buying time perusing third-party sites as well as ones owned by dealerships. Instead of using commercialized ads to push them to a sale, dealers should try having user-friendly and informative VDP pages along with blogs that are SEO friendly to pull them to the website.
Who Is Waiting at the Door?
Are they greeted by a salesperson ready to push a sale or a consultant who is prepared to ask questions to give them the car they need for their current situation? Customers want to feel like they can trust the person who is selling them a car. This means asking questions about their monthly payment budget, what they will use the car for, how many family members will ride in it, and even informing them of potential interest rate changes so they can make an informed financial decision.
Is it easy for staff who are helping with a sale to find vehicles for customers? Can they pull up pricing and vehicle history information about a car before going to view it? Whether it be using an iPad or mobile phone, staff should have this information at their fingertips. A customer’s time is precious, and being able to access a car in a well-organized lot quickly will show that the dealership cares about efficiency. The faster the process, the more likely customers can be open to a sale.
Provide Dependable and Speedy Wi-Fi Connections
There are two reasons for this. The first is offering customers the ability to take care of work, check emails, or even catch a show on their phone or laptop while they wait (which should not be too long). The second is that it can also serve as a great way to allow customers to have the opportunity to use their mobile phones to compare pricing, find trade-in values, and conduct additional research on the features of vehicles they are interested in. Consumers want the convenience to use technology to ensure they are getting the best deal possible.
Shorten the Purchasing Process
This may seem an impossible task, but dealers have to figure out a way to shorten the car buying process. According to the Autotrader study, buyers are the least satisfied with the length of the purchasing process. Also, according to the digital marketing agency, That Agency, satisfaction declines after 90 minutes. Dealers should look for any way possible to cut down on idle waiting time. Asking questions can save time because the answers can direct staff only to show customers the vehicles they can afford. Dealerships can also save time by allowing customers to fill out F&I information ahead of time.
Add a Digital Edge to Your F&I Process
After the purchasing process itself, F&I was the next process customers are least satisfied with during the car buying experience. The endless paperwork, the anxiousness of the credit check process, and lack of understanding about F&I products can drain customers. Dealers can increase the likelihood of a sale by allowing customers to enter financial information online to shorten the process significantly. Second, having a detailed description of F&I products online that include their benefits can diminish the time F&I staff need to take to explain it.
Add an Educational Component to the Test Drive
Information from Autotrader indicated that 88 percent of car buyers would not purchase a car without a test drive. This event creates a valuable opportunity for dealers to give customers exactly what they are looking for to increase the trust. The data from Autotrader also revealed that buyers are looking for a more educational process during the drive instead of one where they feel the staff is more focused on “selling.” The study specifically mentioned using a product specialist to inform interested customers about the features of the car and answer any questions they may have.
Provide Opportunities for Feedback and Make a Point to Act on Them
Dealers should allow time for feedback from car buyers concerning their purchasing experience. Sending a survey right after a sale (or non-sale) should ask questions that enable customers to address how much time the process took, how satisfied they were with the outcome and suggestions for what the dealership could do better in the future. Dealers should then let customers know they read their request and even update them on progress to implement it. Nothing keeps customers coming back for their next vehicle or service appointment more than knowing dealers care about their opinions.
According to Capgemini, there is a strong correlation between customer satisfaction and loyalty. When dealers recognize that customers are looking for an experience that puts their needs first as well as emphasizes education and consultation instead of a “sell, sell, sell” approach, dealers are more likely to turn initial interest into loyalty. The path to increased sales and referrals is through providing a stellar customer experience that gives potential car buyers precisely what they need.