The auto industry is hyper-competitive. Consumers have countless choices for buying and servicing their vehicles; from competing franchise dealerships to independent service centers. It is thus important to do the best to not only keep your customers happy, but also to continuously improve the customer experience to earn loyalty, referral business through word-of-mouth and online reviews, and to increase retention.
Listening to customer feedback, then using that to make changes and improve your dealership’s customer experience is not a new strategy. Customers complain all the time – sometimes the complaints are small, sometimes big and sometimes erroneous. Most managers do their best to rectify situations and satisfy customers – as they should. But there is more work to be done to raise customer satisfaction.
Well, a hidden source full of feedback exists which can be used to improve your customer experience and, perhaps, even to conquest customers from competitors. What is this treasure chest?
How about your competitor’s online reviews?
Think about it. Why are consumers in your PMA going to your competition rather than to you? What is the dealership doing right? What are they doing wrong? Online reviews give insight into what you need to know about your own customer experience and how to provide a more favorable alternative to your competitor.
These reviews can help you figure out what your competition is doing to frustrate their customers. Here’s your opportunity to craft a customer experience that appeals to your existing customers, while, at the same time, attracts your competitor’s customers.
Are your competitor’s customers complaining about long wait times for vehicle service or lack of communication? There’s an opportunity for you. Make sure that you don’t have long wait times in service by incorporating technology to communicate with customers and keep them up-to-date on the status of their vehicle. Then market the heck out of that! Do you think some of your competitor’s disgruntled and unhappy customers might notice and give you a shot? Why wouldn’t they?
Analyze all your competitors’ customer service issues and do what you can to fix those at your own dealership (if they exist), or market that your dealership doesn’t have these issues.
Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not advocating that you start sending out messages, “We’re better than Joe’s Ford.” It’s never a good idea to bad mouth your competitor. I’m only suggesting that, if you see pain points in your competitor’s processes, ensure that your dealership does NOT have these same pain points (or fix them). Then use those as unique selling propositions. In addition, ensure these same points are used to leverage and attract those unhappy customers.
This strategy can improve everything about your own store by forcing you to analyze what is working in your own dealership and what is not. It also provides the opportunity to ensure that your competitor’s pain points shape a different experience at your dealership. You’re looking for every opportunity to differentiate yourself in the marketplace, right?
This focus on happy customers opens the door to conquest other customers when they see your message and consider a move to your dealership.
Knowing what pain points exist in your market – whether that feedback is about your dealership or about your competition – is invaluable knowledge you can leverage to your advantage.
Author: Chris Miller
Chris Miller is President of Recall Masters, a leading provider of automotive recall news, data, training, and communications. Privately held and based in the San Francisco Bay area, the company is dedicated to helping automakers and their dealers expedite the repair of recalled vehicles and make the roadways safer for everyone. Christopher has more than 17 years of experience building software to automate marketing communications. He has worked with marquee brands including HSBC/Household Automotive, Washington Mutual, Residential Pacific Mortgage, ServiceMagic, Monumental Life Insurance, Mercedes Benz USA, BMW/Mini North America, Volvo North America, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Moxy Solutions, and Costco Automotive Group.