The customer experience (CX) in automotive has been an area of growth and investment in recent years. Manufacturers are focusing on improving how they interact with customers rather than simply selling including Hyundai’s Shopper Assurance Program, FCA’s partnership with J.D. Power to create the Customer First Award for Excellence, and targeted strategies by many others to improve feedback and customer care.
For dealerships, improving upon CX may not be as much about strategies as it is about who is part of the plan. According to CDK Global, “research shows women are natural CX leaders.” In many of the critical aspects of CX, women tend to perform better than man on average.
Where Women Excel in CX
CDK Global’s research provides roles in the dealership where women tend to excel where CX is concerned.
- Before the sales or service visit, women tend to be better at appointment scheduling as well as matching customers with salespeople and service advisors.
- When customers are at the dealership, experiences such as greetings and introductions, vehicle walkarounds, personalized interactions, and store tours are best performed by women, generally.
- And after the customer’s visit to the dealership, women excel at “feedback follow-ups, problem resolution, and CSI/survey data”.
Many of these CX roles tend to lean toward the relational aspect of the workplace rather than task-oriented roles.
Why Women May be Better at Customer Experience Roles
While this is a broad generalization – some men are excellent at relating to customers while some women are not – studies support it. According to research by the Academy of Finland, at it’s core, caring and nurturing are a trait that the female of the species demonstrates more.
An article in American Psychologist also points out that, in public opinion in the U.S., women are more competent and intelligent than men but may be less ambitious. This can be seen as gender inequality to some people, but it might be more favorable to look at it as complimentary roles.
It can help to identify why women are better at relational roles in automotive. However, that should certainly not be seen as a lesser role since 46 percent of car shoppers would avoid a dealership if they’ve had a bad experience there. For a massive number of shoppers, relationship trumps product and price.
How Dealers Can Apply This Information
CDK Global’s insights mention three components of having more women participate in CX, both at the dealership and corporate levels.
- Because of their natural skills, women grow into CX leaders.
- Because they care for the customer, women are hungry for career growth.
- Since customers respond well to empathy and listening, women naturally climb the career ladder.
Analyze the Dealership’s Customer Experience
A first step is to determine how your dealership performs in terms of CX. That begins with the visit online and continues through to after-sales or service follow-up. Determine how customer-centric each aspect of the process is including navigation and communication. Then, decide how you can improve so your clientele has a more streamlined, satisfying experience with your store. Embrace changes.
Hire with CX in Mind
Regardless how prominent the role is or how diminutive it seems, consider the applicant’s skill set and history in CX. This should involve calling references to ask about their relational performance. Look to hire people in all departments with a proven history of excellence in customer service. You’ll find that your workforce will likely skew more toward increasing the number of women.
Prioritize CX Culture over Profit
Dealerships are businesses that rely on profit, of course. However, when earning a paycheck becomes more valuable to staff members than providing the best service for your customers, it’s probable that you’ll see a decline in CSI scores and follow-up survey feedback. Encourage all members of your team to strive for a top-notch customer experience first. Naturally, profit will follow.
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