How Dealerships can meet (and exceed) customer expectations
In a capitalist society, consumers have always been an essential component of how the micro and macro economy functions and remains viable. However, with expanding social media networks and access to digital devices, modern-day consumers have not only power over what they choose to purchase for themselves but also the ability to influence what other
In a capitalist society, consumers have always been an essential component of how the micro and macro economy functions and remains viable. However, with expanding social media networks and access to digital devices, modern-day consumers have not only power over what they choose to purchase for themselves but also the ability to influence what other people buy.
Within seconds, consumers can document their experiences with brands, whether positive or negative and broadcast it to their online followers in their area and potentially across the globe. In fact, modern consumers today are more likely to post a public review on a negative experience they encountered with a business over a positive one.
Therefore, it goes without saying that consumers purchase from the brands they feel loyal to, which is why it is imperative that businesses continue to meet and exceed their expectations, including dealerships. In addition, just like all business growth strategies, generating a plan that places the enhancement of customer service experiences at the forefront of both short and long-term goals is key to ensuring your dealership remains valuable and competitive in the market as the automotive industry begins to digitize and prepare for the future.
Accordingly, if you are a dealership owner who is searching for strategic methods that will help your business meet and exceed your consumer expectations, keep reading.
Why meeting and exceeding customer expectations is important
As we said, modern-day consumers have more power today than they did 20 years ago, and that is due primarily to the expansion of technology, social media, and the internet. As society progresses, so do consumer expectations and buying behaviors. When the automotive industry began the massive production of vehicles in 1913, the focus for many car companies and dealerships was the quality of the overall driving experience.
However, as the automotive industry has changed throughout the years, vehicle reliability has dramatically increased and expanded amongst vehicle manufacturing companies. As a result, the driving experience and comfort are becoming harder to compete with, which is why and how dealership experiences have come into play. There are more options now for vehicles today than there were 50 years ago. Because of this, consumers have more choice and do not have a problem with moving on to the next brand that is selling a similar product if the customer service experience is more exceptional.
Furthermore, consumers will continue to buy with the same selections of brands that they can trust, which is why transparency is critical. Today, households are likely to have more than one vehicle, and the trust that dealerships create with consumers is part of the reason why they will continue to come back and purchase vehicles in the future. Thus, highlighting the significance retention plays in the buying process.
How do you define a dealership’s customer experience strategy?
A customer service strategy is the benchmark of the process of service and care that your company will deliver to customers, in addition to a method of which your business is able to consistently gauge those standards.
A customer service strategy supports businesses with:
Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction plays an essential role in comprehending your consumer demands and constructing consumer happiness throughout their engagement with your business.
Increased Brand Loyalty: Increased brand loyalty arrives from producing satisfied consumers and maintaining trust. It also assists in creating and enhancing connections with previous and current consumers.
Delivering Dependable Experiences: Arranging procedures and systems for consistent support and service levels while constantly gauging their efficacy so you can continue to improve on aspects that aren’t working.
Boosting Revenue: Consumers become supporters of your business, making them more likely to boast about the dealership services to their friends and family, which will increase your revenue.
Customer Retention: People are more likely to continue shopping with the brands and businesses they like. Therefore, by implementing a sound customer experience strategy, your dealership can increase customer retention, which will help your business grow positively in the future.
Positive Word of Mouth and Online Reviews: When customers have exceeding customer service experiences with your dealership, they are more likely to pass along their experience by word of mouth to friends and family. They may even write an online review as well. Therefore, by going above and beyond for your consumers at every step of their engagement with you, you gain free advertisement for your business and continue to grow your business authority against direct dealership competition in your service area and online.
What steps do you take to guarantee that consumer expectations are met?
To ensure you can meet consumer expectations, here is a step-by-step process on how to get started once you have chosen your approach to identify your consumer experience gaps:
1. Identify internal gaps
Before dealerships can confirm whether their consumer expectations are being met it is important to sit down with your management team and consider what the customer service experience is like from your consumer’s point of view. You can ask questions such as:
- What is your dealership’s philosophy on customer service?
- How consistent are your employees with maintaining this philosophy?
- How organized is your daily workflow amongst employees?
- How do you recognize your employees? Does this system produce the employee behaviors you are trying to achieve?
- How are you and your employees adding value to your consumer experience?
2. Gather information on customer experience gaps straight from your customers
Once you have determined where your business is lacking internally, you then need to gather information straight from your customers and their demographics to see where they are experiencing gaps on their end when interacting with dealerships. You can use open databases, social media databases, or use a business to mine the data on your behalf before providing you with statistics from numerous questionnaires, surveys, and other research portals. In addition, you also need to look at internal dealership data, including sales data, service efficiency data, and marketing data, as it will also help you optimize your daily operations short and long-term.
3. Focus on gaps you want to fix
Once you have collected your data and are presented with detailed statistics on where your internal and external gaps are, it is then up to your dealership management team to determine which gaps you want to focus on in the present and which holes you can focus on improving over time.
4. Continuously meet with your management team
As you begin implementing your methods of improving your customer service experiences, dealership management teams will need to meet on a regular basis to track progress and make changes as required to ensure you remain on track when enhancing your practices. To measure your new and improved strategy, dealership management teams need to:
Measure customer satisfaction
Measure your customer satisfaction through reviews, post-service surveys, and any other methods you can use to hear directly from your customers about how their experience with your dealership was.
Hold yourself and your employees accountable.
Holding yourself and employees accountable for their performance is imperative to ensure that they are holding up their end of the bargain and delivering on the expectations your customers have. This includes owning up to mistakes and going out of the way to rectify the problem before it becomes more severe and damaging to your brand.
Be proactive in your customer service experience.
If your customer service strategy is functioning optimally at your dealership, then your employees need to be able to understand your business philosophy, so they are able to work proactively to meet customer expectations and needs. This means being able to anticipate what your customer may want before they need to ask rather than working on operating ever so often when the need arises.
What are some ways to meet and exceed customer expectations?
Meeting and exceeding customer expectations is sometimes easier said than done. However, it is possible. If there is one thing modern consumers value most during their buying process, it’s simplicity and comfort. Therefore, here are some of the ways you can begin meeting and exceeding your customer expectations are your dealership location:
1. In-person and online buying experiences
Offer both online and in-person buying experiences that provide consumers with the power to control their car buying experience. Allowing customers to begin their vehicle purchasing journey online and continue it through to the end from the comfort of their own home is where the automotive industry is heading in the future. Therefore, to ensure you are prepared for the years to come, dealerships need to embrace digitization and offer online car purchases as an option in addition to in-person experiences.
2. Focus on transparency and communication
Provide your consumers with transparency by offering them real-time online assistance, the ability to compare financing options, access to real-time inventory selections, and the opportunity to make an in-person appointment as they please. This allows your business to remain valuable throughout the buying process, but only when needed and chosen by the consumer. Therefore, it is imperative that dealerships choose methods that allow them to maintain seamless internal and external communication at any time.
3. Remove lengthy paperwork processes
After spending time on the lot and finally selecting a vehicle, the last thing a customer wants to do is spend the next hour filling out paperwork and waiting for their loan application to be finalized. Therefore, dealerships must streamline this final sector. Of the purchasing experience to ensure the entire experience is as efficient as possible.
Luckily, dealerships are able to execute these strategies using an integrative online software program such as taq Automotive Intelligence, which provides dealerships with the ability to support online sales through a True Digital Retailing platform. This platform allows consumers to:
- Search available dealership inventory through an online digital showroom
- Calculate monthly loan payments
- Apply with credit lenders and receive approval in minutes
- Schedule in-person test drives and car delivery services
- Get a quote on trading in their current car and applying it to their down payment
4. Use texting to make your communication more efficient
Furthermore, if you’re experiencing gaps in your communication methods, consider implementing automated text message updates rather than calling customers and employees and sending emails. These methods take time and are beginning to be outdated. On the other hand, texting can increase your engagement levels and is instantaneous.
As you can see, customer experiences and expectations are even more critical today than they were when the automotive industry first began its operations. Therefore, it is essential that dealerships leverage tools online and in-person to ensure they can satisfy transforming consumer behaviors while preparing themselves in the long run.
Therefore, to learn more about how taq Automotive Intelligence can help you meet and exceed customer expectations, head to our main service page for an in-depth look into our software options before booking a free demo.