The Benefits of Having a Customer Education Campaign at Your Dealership


Once upon a time, there were only a few car models in existence, all with a limited number of features. Demonstrating how a car worked was a simple matter, and those who didn’t already know how their new vehicle worked were easily brought up to speed.

Today’s makes and models have exploded, with thousands of features built into most vehicles. It can be a full-time job just for dealers to keep up with the latest technology in the cars they sell, and customers are often at a loss. This makes it harder for them to know what they want and sets a steep learning curve after purchase.

Feeling out of depth affects customer motivation to go out and buy a new car, no matter how much they need one. For this reason, it’s in a dealership’s best interest to set consumer education as a top priority.

The good news is that there are more opportunities than ever to reach and educate consumers, starting with the world wide web. According to a 2018 Cox Automotive study titled Car Buyer Journey, car buyers spend 60 percent researching and shopping online. That said, the study pointed out that walk-ins are still the initial point of contact for dealers.

This means that there is valuable time being underutilized, because, to quote the study, “While car shoppers can be influenced about what to buy and who to buy from, the time to influence and convert them is online, where they spend the majority of their shopping time making decisions.”

educationFor this reason, an aggressive customer education campaign should start online. Find ways to demystify new vehicle innovations by creating content, like short videos, explaining what different features do and why they benefit drivers. Informative infographics posted to social media can also help customers grasp different nuances between cars or insurance carriers, or breakdown the buying process.

On the web, dealerships can also help further the buying process by providing any forms that can be filled out ahead of time. The Cox Automotive study found that many people found the paperwork and financing took longer than they expected. Shorten that process by helping customers navigate it before they even come to you. Have staff on hand to chat virtually with shoppers, helping them steer through tricky comparison shopping, like insurance, so that they get the best deals–allowing them to spend more at your dealership on the car they settle on.

Off the web, customer education should continue. Car vending machines aside, most buyers still come to a lot at some point. When a customer visits, dealers should focus on demonstrating features and allowing shoppers to test drive not just the car but what it can do as well, from entertainment systems to safety navigation.

Continuing education post-buy is also important for two reasons: first, it furthers dealership and brand appreciation, and second, it provides a reason for customers to return several times. One novel way to approach post-buy customer education is through new owner orientations and clinics. Several dealerships, including many Subaru and Ford dealerships, are inviting buyers back for special workshops where they can learn and try out their new car’s features. Taken together, these steps toward consumer education will translate into customer satisfaction.