For today’s consumers, time is the ultimate commodity. No matter how much money they have, consumers are always on the go with their busy lives. Whether that means shuttling the kids to soccer practice, or running a bunch of errands, when it comes to fitting vehicle service into their busy schedule it is often viewed as a large and inconvenient time sink.
To help improve the service experience and enable customers to better occupy their time, dealerships across the nation have installed amenities ranging from shuttle service, to in-dealership restaurants, to mani-pedi services — even movie theaters.
A recent article in Automotive News shares an interesting story about an ultra-luxury dealership; Post Oak Motor Cars in Houston, Texas, that recognizes how customer retention is the MOST important goal for any business.
In fact, this dealership will do just about anything to satisfy a customer and overcome the time objection. Their customer amenities are all based around saving time – and they are quite something! Are you in need a helicopter to bring you to the dealership? Done. How about a chauffeured Rolls-Royce while your car is being serviced? Want pick-up and delivery service? They’ll pick up your vehicle in an enclosed trailer, service it and deliver it right back into your garage – even across state lines.
Yes, this is an ultra-luxury dealership which services brands such as Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Bugatti (amongst others); and their competitive edge is that they are willing to go to any length to earn (and keep) service business. Of course, given the price of these vehicles, they deal with very wealthy clients. And one of their biggest challenges is communicating with them. A star football player can be very difficult to reach via phone. So, what do their customers prefer? Text messages and emails. And not only does the dealership provide these methods of communication, it also provides each service customer with video and photo documentation of services to ensure the ultimate in transparency, keeping their customers informed and engaged. And it works.
Don’t worry, I am certainly not suggesting that your dealership should run out and buy a helicopter, or drive to other states to service (and return) vehicles. The lesson here is that regardless of whether you’re a domestic or high-line franchise, customers of every income value time over just about everything else, (including service coupons). It’s no longer discounts that motivate customers, but rather time-saving amenities. It doesn’t matter whether the client is a pro-athlete, celebrity, or stay-at-home mom – or whether they own a Ford Focus or a Bugatti.
Next time you’re considering how to improve customer retention and build your client base, instead of looking at things that make the customer’s WAIT AT YOUR DEALERSHIP less boring, try thinking a little bigger. Think about how you can make their wait at your dealership non-existent (or as much as possible.) You might find that saving time is more important to them then providing a free lunch or a movie.
Author: Ujj Nath
Ujj Nath is the Founder and CEO of myKaarma (www.mykaarma.com), the cloud-based conversational commerce software that’s revolutionizing the auto service industry. He has 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and automotive industry executive. In 1990, prior to myKaarma, Ujj founded Syncata, a major provider of business consulting and systems integration services. In 2004 he successfully negotiated the sale of the company to ProQuest Business Solutions (NYSE: PQE), which was subsequently acquired by Snap-On Tools (NYSE:SNA). At Snap-On, Ujj was Vice President of Global Accounts and headed the Professional Services Organization for Snap-on Business Solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com.