How to Map the Customer Experience at your Dealership

customer experience

With the increasing number of transactions happening online every day, it’s becoming easier for companies to quantify their customer’s shopping experience. Customers are more likely to chosen certain products and services over others, simply by their experience with the company. Regardless of where this experience happens, whether that’s in-store or online – it’s important for it to be seamless throughout the brand.

Many times, companies have an obvious disconnection with the interactions online through emails and mail flyers than they have in a physical store. This disconnection can lead customers to have a negative experience on one, but a positive experience on another. Thus, in the end, they’re more likely to remember the negative experience.

Purchasing a car is likely to be the second largest investment that consumers make. For most, it’s not a quick, easy, and simple decision to make. It requires countless amounts of research, financial investment, and time.

Customer experience mapping gives companies a process that they can use to discover how their customers and potential customers feel as they are engrossed into the sales funnel. The purpose of an experience map is to allow companies to see where their pain points are so that they can rectify them. It builds a consensus that can be carried on through the organization to allow for a seamless customer experience.

Throughout the stages of the sales funnel, there can be various steps that can be considered as ‘pain points’. These points can occur anywhere from the information stage to after sales. During the information stage, consumers are most likely just researching and narrowing down their choices. Consumers can get overwhelmed at the number of vehicles and additional options that are available to them. It is likely that they don’t get a personalized feel that would make their choice pool smaller.

After they’ve narrowed down their choices, the next step is to visit the dealer. This step can be referred to as the contact stage. In this stage, consumers get wary and uncomfortable at dealerships with the worry that they’ll be upsold models and options that don’t suit them. Sometimes it can even go as far as consumers not feeling appreciated for spending their money at certain dealerships.

During the purchasing, handover, and after sale stages, it can be quite stressful for first-time car buyers. They can sometimes feel as if they’re being misled or being unaware of any potential add-ons that might benefit them.

Regardless of which industry your business is in, it must have a customer-centric mission. So, how can your dealership implement and use customer experience mapping? We’ll be going through the stages to get you started.

Step One: Understand Your Customer’s Experience with The Process

First impressions are important, especially in this case. The first interaction that your customer has can build their experience from thereon. What do your customer’s first experience or interaction with our brand look like? Before you can answer that question, it’s imperative for you to map out the buyer’s journey so that you can understand what they went through. This means mapping out their entire engagement with your products, services, and brand, including any tasks and actions.

With the car purchasing process, it’s important to identify the touch points where your prospective buyer interacted with your dealership. This includes major touch points, such as test drives or negotiations with the salesperson and minor touch points, such as walking around the lot and greetings post-purchase. Regardless of the size of importance, all distinct points of interaction should be mapped by your dealership.

Step Two: Map Multiple Paths for Some Points

More times than not, a single touch point can have multiple entry points. The customer could have started the process through a toll-free number or your website. They could have simply done an organic search or your display ad brought the customer to your website/number.

These types of questions and statements make the mapping process more complex and web-like, rather than a straight process line. So, it’s important to include these stages so that you are able to map it as accurately as possible.

Step Three: Differentiate Between Offstage and Onstage

Offstage is all the things that happen behind the scenes, while onstage is what the customer is able to see. In terms of a dealerships interactions, onstage would be the communication between the customer and the salesperson. In the same scenario, the offstage would occur while you’re running the credit check for the vehicle financing payments. It can be helpful to visualize this process so that you are able to clearly see which parts the customer sees and which parts can run in the background.

Step Four: Classify the Intensity of the Touch Point

Regardless of the size or visibility, each touch point is important and vital to the entire experience map. This step just means that you should be able to visually see which ones are more significant for the customers. With dealerships, the touch points with the highest intensities are the test drives and the negotiation sit-downs. The minor would be the cleanliness of the car.

There should be an 80/20 approach, while the majority of the focus going on the higher-pressure points.

Step Four: Receive Feedback from Entire Organization

Adding a qualitative layer to your experience map can give it a more personalized look to your specific organization. Each individual section of your organization is able to see separate things clearer, making it the best way to get a thorough analysis from all the different parts of your business.

Step Six: Understand and Improve

If you simply map out your customer experience, it won’t do you any good if you don’t continually keep improving and understanding the customer’s experience. The 80/20 approach will keep you going on the right track with your priorities to what the customer experiences.

Customer experience mapping is not a simple task, nor is it an easy task. Though, regardless of how complex it can get, it is still the best way to get a full understanding of what your customer thinks and feels about your organization.