Throughout the automotive industry, there are numerous methodologies in the advertising, marketing, and sales techniques hemisphere. However, in this vast market with tremendous competition, there are certain dealership “basics” which can be easily overlooked. These small details, which exist in the most successful dealerships, are often neglected and can result in a quite large downfall in the dealership’s reputation, and brand image. Recently, we at CRMSuite conducted a survey with 25 random nationwide dealerships, all in an effort to test 3 basic dealership methods that should exist in the consumer’s experience, from the very beginning of their car buying process. It involved a rating system from the initial greeting, follow-up email, and survey. The results left much to be desired, with 25 out of the 25 dealerships not adhering to the all 3 of these three details. In addition, the professionalism of EVERY dealership was left lacking, with more of a casual complacency rather than that of a professional workplace.
These basics should be implemented every day, at every store. However, without the knowledge of how these should be presented to the dealership personnel correctly, the basic details will never be satisfied. Covering the three areas to look for will help the store’s brand, as well as its reputation to the consumer.
- The initial greeting of every customer is the easiest step in the success of the customers’ first experience. Yet, it rarely occurs in the form that makes the customer more comfortable. The consumer already has a preexisting idea of what the dealership experience is, and it’s up to each specific store to change this. An initial greeting from a receptionist is one area, but this usually occurs properly, much more than that of the sales team. When the majority of dealership greetings come from a salesperson, ALL sales personnel must be skilled in this area. All staff, especially sales personnel, should always present their greeting while maintaining a well-dressed attire, and using a professional voice to greet every customer. This professional mannerism does not just exist in the physical sense. This mentality is also attributed to the online greeting when departments contact interested customers. Using a professional voice, on the lot or on the web, is the first step to a successful brand and reputation.
- Emails that are not checked for professionalism and proper grammar, should not be sent. When speaking with a customer, the odd mispronunciation is allowed. However, in emailing, even texting, there is no room for error on either. Emails, or any form of written communication, can present the staff member AND the dealership with a professionalism that its competitors will desire. Spelling and grammar are functions that even if not done correctly at first, can be checked by a plethora programs available. These attributes go back to the reputation and branding of the dealership itself; a poorly written email/text will not only not impress the consumer, but it will belittle the dealership’s reputable personnel. In many cases, an email is the first form of proper communication many consumers will receive from the dealership. If the communication was poorly written, the chances of that consumer stepping foot in the dealership will decrease.
- Customer experience customer surveys create a birds eye view of the dealerships performance. Many dealerships survey, yes, however it’s about the right way to survey, as well a what the dealership gets out of it. The most lucrative survey, one that will assess the dealership and provide analytical results, is that of a CSI survey. No matter if this is a written or verbal survey, ALL dealerships should be utilizing this type of review system, mainly for the reason of brand and reputation internal awareness. Satisfaction surveys not only allow the dealership to assess areas of possible improvement, but they also provide the opportunity to use incentives toward the customer. By filling a survey out, the customer provides quality information, but also will be drawn back to the dealership, depending on the incentive for filling one out.
The most successful dealerships, as stated before, will build a brand awareness and reputation using the basics. The disbursement methods may change; however, the basic ideology will always stay the same. Using a professional greeting and correspondence will build and protect a dealerships reputation, and utilizing satisfaction surveys will provide useful feedback to correct any issues or areas of improvement. With 25 out of 25 Dealerships surveyed, and all failing at least one of the three details listed above…It appears time has come to get back to basics.
Author: Aubrey Hankins
Aubrey Hankins serves as Social Media Marketing Director for CRMSuite, a software company providing dealerships with industry leading, technologically advanced CRM Software. With almost 10 years of marketing and social media experience, he brings a wealth of informative automotive discussion and debate, all in order to help dealers sell more cars.