How well do you you know your consumers? Do you know their likes, dislikes, what content they’re most likely to engage with? If you don’t, you should. Knowing your consumers is the first step toward turning them into customers who will return time and again to your dealership.
Consumers are talking, and there are some things they’d like businesses to know. Some of their revelations may surprise you, but all of them are things you can immediately turn into actionable items to make your dealership a go-to automotive destination:
- Quality and attitude are more important than speed. Although today’s shoppers are looking for quick interactions, they still prefer high quality and great service over speed. 44% of U.S. consumers will take their business elsewhere if they receive poor customer service, a statistic that fuels the importance of this shopper standard.
- Shoppers know what they are looking for, and they are doing research to make sure they get it. Automotive consumers are looking for some very specific things, and a recent D. Power Autoshopper study tells us 96% of all automotive internet users do online research before buying. Today’s shoppers want to be an integral part of the process from beginning to end, and dealerships that recognize this and work to facilitate information gathering will get ahead and gain loyalty.
- Shoppers want to save, but they don’t want to look cheap. It’s one thing to be a savvy shopper, but it’s quite another to come off being cheap. Give shoppers great ways to save without making them look like they’re cutting corners and skimping on important items. When you offer deals and incentives up front, shoppers won’t feel like they have to haggle down to the penny—and they’ll be happier with their purchases and their dealership experiences.
- Time is an important commodity. As consumers get busier, it seems like everyone is running shorter on time—so be sure to find ways to remind shoppers that time spent in your dealership is worthwhile. Work on ways to make your in-house processes more efficient and streamlined, ensuring customers are in and out of the dealership as quickly as possible. Dealerships that implement innovative communication platforms like AutoAlert’s Pando have found they are able to more effectively engage their teams and improve workflow, providing the best possible experiences for their customers.
- Everyone likes (good) surprises. It’s easy for shoppers to become overwhelmed with all the information available in the dealership, so it’s ok to save a few small surprises for later. For example, if you’re planning on throwing in free oil changes or car washes, consider surprising buyers by adding these on during the paperwork process as thank-yous.
- Your customers want to be remembered. It doesn’t take a lot of time to add some extra touches and let customers know you’ve remembered them personally. For example, instead of sending form letters or emails, take the time to send individual correspondence to those who have visited your dealership. Potential customers will feel important and relevant to your business when you take the time to let them know you remember them.
- No one outgrows “Once upon a time.” Storytelling is proven to resonate with consumers, so don’t be afraid to make stories a large part of your content. A whopping 92% of consumers say they would prefer brands make ads feel like stories, rather than straight informational ads. Find ways to tell stories that convey your brand’s beliefs, experiences, and dedication to consumers. Not only will stories stick with potential customers, but they’ll serve as compelling reasons to share your brand with others.
- Shoppers like the personal touch. Your dealership can stand out from the rest by going the extra mile and adding in a few little things—because those are the things that mean a lot to shoppers. Think of ways you can provide over-the-top service and extras to capture consumer attention. Do you offer free coffee? How about upgrading to one of the new select-your-own-brew machines? Do you have free Wi-Fi? If so, how about adding a few easy to access charging stations? The small upgrades don’t cost your dealership a lot, but your customers will appreciate them and recognize your efforts.
- You don’t have to buy their love. The small things often add up even more than the large, expensive things, and while customers appreciate the amenities, they also appreciate the small favors. For example, if no one else is in the waiting room and a customer is waiting with a small child, why not change the TV channel to cartoons to help out the mom? Other things like ensuring you have up-to-date magazines, clean restrooms, and plenty of coffee cups are simple reminders that your customers are a priority.
- Loyalty programs should be less difficult than rocket science. Most shoppers can probably locate up to a dozen loyalty cards for different stores in their possession, and that’s because just about everyone loves loyalty programs. But there’s a catch. Loyalty programs need to be simple enough to understand—and they need to have attainable rewards. In addition, they need to emotionally connect with consumers. Failing this, they simply won’t catch on. This aspect of customer retention is important, because according to Gartner Group, 80% of companies’ future revenue will come from just 20% of existing customers. Work to create a dealership loyalty program that is easy to understand, fun to participate in, and that has attainable payoffs for your shoppers.
When you leverage these 10 simple insights, your dealership will be on track to deliver the ultimate customer experience—an experience that will bring shoppers back time and again. You’ll end up with more loyal customers, and you’ll also have shoppers who are excited to share what’s going on at your dealership with their friends. When you show you’re truly paying attention to the things shoppers want, you’ll stand out as a business that cares about its customers, and you’ll have a brand story everyone wants to share.
Author: Joey Little
Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.