A recent study by Forrester quantified the monetary effect of increasing customer experience scores by a single percent. The results were quite astonishing.
A single one-point increase in customer experience can mean as much as an additional $873 million per year in revenue for auto manufacturers, and incremental revenue per customer of $48.50.
How many customers does your dealership see in a year? What if you could add an additional $48.50 in revenue to each and every one of them? Luxury brands make out slightly better with an increased per customer revenue of $104.16.
Let’s look at a modest store’s traffic and try to quantify that. If a store is selling 100 cars per month, that equals 1,200 cars per year. Add in service traffic and that dealership could easily be talking about 6,000 transactions per year (if you consider a ratio of service to sales customers of 4:1 — and that’s probably on the conservative side). That equates to additional store revenue of $291,000 per year, without changing a thing. I’m sure you can imagine what those numbers would mean for your specific store, based on your sales and service volume.
Now that we know the potential financial implications of a SINGLE-point increase, imagine the exponential increase which could be created with a multiple point rise. You may be thinking, “This is all great, but how do I increase my customer experience scores without increasing staff or investing in building improvements?”
Here are a few suggestions:
- Be friendly – Take a page from one of the most popular companies with the most loyal brand followers in the world – Disney. Disney trains all employees to understand that when interacting with guests they are “on-stage,” which is why they name their employees “Cast Members.” The idea behind this is that every guest in the park is important, and each “Cast Member” should remember to always interact in a friendly, courteous manner and be as helpful as possible.
Customers should feel welcomed and appreciated. If you do nothing else, this simple mindset – reinforced through training and accountability – could help increase your customer experience score. Employees should always have time to interact with customers in meaningful ways, without the customer feeling as if they are a nuisance, or that the employee has more important things to do. The only customer that matters at any point in time is the one standing in front of you.
- Make it easy – It’s easy for customers to get frustrated with a dealership when there is friction between your goals and how you go about achieving them. Whether this means streamlining your processes, analyzing customer experiences, or assessing individual employee interactions, the goal should be to ensure each department and employee is able to perform their tasks in the most efficient and customer friendly way possible.
Accomplishing this creates a better customer experience and makes your dealership more efficient, allowing for more productivity from everyone. This also creates less frustrated and more engaged employees, who then service your customers better – again improving the customer experience.
- Technology – This could mean one of two things – learning to use the technology you already have more effectively through training and enforcement, or identifying pain points in your dealership’s processes and finding technology that can solve it for you. Technology is only effective if it is used properly and consistently. Make sure that all your staff are trained on each piece of technology your dealership uses and create processes and assessments so they use it effectively.
- Options – In general, people like options when it comes to spending money. Whether you’re shopping for a television, a blender, or considering a larger purchase such as a house or new vehicle, every single retailer will make it as easy as possible for you to complete that financial transaction.
With the advent and adoption of technologies such as ApplePay, consumers want to pay in the way that’s most convenient for them. Checks and cash are not used as often as they were. In fact, many people don’t even carry cash, preferring to use debit or credit cards. And, there will be times when the customer wants to transact with you – especially for needed repairs – but may not have available credit or cash on hand. Having alternatives such as an OEM credit card or repair financing is simply another way to make it easy for customers to do business with you and increase revenue.
Increasing your customer experience by just one-point shouldn’t be out of the question. It will take effort, buy-in, training and, in some cases, enforcement. However, in the end, your dealership will see increased profits, customer retention and loyalty.
Author: Tim Clay
Tim Clay, Chief Revenue Officer, Confident Financial Solutions. Tim Clay is Chief Revenue Officer with Confident Financial Solutions, a consumer finance company that offers an auto repair financing program for service centers and their customers. Clay has more than twenty years of experience in the automotive retail space and is a graduate of NADA Dealer Candidate Academy. Previously, he was COO and Co-Founder of ClickMotive, an automotive technology company. He has instrumented one successful automotive startup exit and one successful medical company exit.