What do service customers want from car dealerships? I asked myself and the introspection resulted in series of thoughts below:
- Service customers want their questions answered.
- Service customers want their problems solved.
- Service customers want convenience above all.
In other words service customers want car dealerships to meet their expectations and meet them at customers’ own terms.
Today’s retail automotive space has become a highly competitive marketplace. Every single sales or service transaction has to be earned and a new car dealership must clearly differentiate itself from the rest of the competition. With proliferation of companies like TrueCar and RepairPal the industry has finally opened up to the fact that price competitiveness alone cannot be the only differentiator. Commoditizing a new car purchase or commoditizing maintenance and repair sales is not only bad for business but in the long term the quality of the end product delivered to consumers also suffers.
OEMs and New Car dealerships must innovate and focus on making the customer experience the hallmark of their business goals. If you take care of customers and make them feel special the money will follow. It will not happen overnight and that is why it requires a long term commitment to customer experience excellence. It will take buy in from every single level of the organization from top to bottom. From OEM executives to dealer principals to general managers and all the way down to the service porters, every single player should be executing from the same playbook. The new mission statement for each dealership should be to not just meet but exceed customer expectations. It won’t be as easy as walk in a park on a breezy autumn afternoon, but with iterative, steady and progressive steps one can set new car dealerships sailing in the right direction.
Thomas A. Edison once said “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”. So here is the opportunity, let’s dress up in overalls and get to doing the hard work that is necessary to achieve customer experience excellence. Let’s start with Fixed Operations which I believe is the center piece of customer retention efforts hence customer experience excellence is paramount here.
So let me flip the proverbial script and turn to you now and I ask: What concrete specific steps would you take if you were given the opportunity to not just meet but exceed customer expectations for a new car service department? I urge you to contribute even if you have just a single word to say.