By Kasi Edwards, Vice President of Marketing at Reynolds and Reynolds
Customers are continually demanding better buying experiences. The Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report says 56 percent of customers actively seek to buy from the most innovative companies – that is, companies that consistently introduce new services based on customer needs and new technology.
Leading companies and retailers constantly invest money in new technology to enhance the customer experience. Lowe’s invested in features to streamline the physical shopping experience, and McDonald’s implemented kiosks in its restaurants for quicker ordering, shorter wait times, and increased efficiency.
What’s the point of these investments? Keeping customers satisfied and inspiring brand loyalty.
So, when you consider the experience your dealership offers customers, how does it compare to other retailers, companies, and dealerships? Here are four tips on how to deliver the experience your customers have come to expect.
- Start with marketing.
Today’s shopping process starts online. Grab customers’ attention and interest by making your marketing, dealership website, and third-party sites precise and intriguing. Basing marketing efforts off customers’ buying and service histories with your dealership will ensure they’re targeted specifically to the customer and their needs.
When it comes to reaching millennials and Generation Z, it’s critical to have an effective social media presence. Sites like Twitter and Facebook make you available on demand and add an extra layer to the customer experience.
Finally, your internet marketing and inventory should be accurate across the board. Using a web-based tool to customize descriptions and images of vehicles, while automatically updating that information on all websites, will make this task easier and more efficient.
- Enhance the sales process.
Using technology – such as tablets – to work with customers leads to higher customer satisfaction. Modern consumers have become accustomed to a tech-filled lifestyle, so you should fulfill that expectation at your dealership. You can exceed customer expectations by meeting them on the lot with a mobile sales process, which will make your overall buying process more efficient.
To ensure customers don’t have any unnecessary waits, use an application that allows your salespeople to find customer and inventory information faster.
- Simplify negotiation.
According to Autotrader, 56 percent of customers want to negotiate while buying a vehicle but want to change the process. Stop running back and forth between the customers and manager, simplify the negotiation procedure, and increase quality customer interaction using technology that makes the customer more comfortable by laying out different deal options side by side. This makes negotiating easier and allows your salespeople to stay with the customer through the entire process.
- Make the F&I process engaging.
After negotiation, customers get impatient during the F&I process, which often feels like additional wasted time. One way to solve this is by sending the negotiated deal straight to F&I so the required documents are prepared in advance. While customers are waiting for the F&I process, consider an interactive presentation to discuss accessories. This will keep customers involved and give your dealership opportunities for increased revenue.
Once customers sit down in the F&I office to sign final paperwork, they’re often ready to bolt. Make the process engaging by allowing both the F&I manager and customers full view of the documents and options. Greater customer involvement leads to greater feelings of control and, ultimately, increased satisfaction.
By following these tips, your dealership will make each customer feel important to your business, involved in the process, and excited about purchasing their vehicle. You’ll keep them coming back to your dealership for their next vehicle as well.
About the Author
Kasi Edwards is Vice President of Marketing at Reynolds and Reynolds. She leads the company’s marketing, advertising, communications, and Retail Management System messages to the market. During her over 21-year career with Reynolds, she’s built an accomplished background in sales, marketing, and product management.
Author: Contributing Writer
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