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This week I had two experiences that I have to share as I believe they have relevance to our industry. I ordered food from a pizza joint and got a massage…stay with me.
#1- I generally go to an amazing Spa called Sanctuary Day Spa. They have three locations and offer a full line Spa experience as well as a gym in at least one location. My favorite Spa is located inside Southtowne Mall. From the time you enter the unprepossessing entrance, you are transported into another world far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The atmosphere is serene and the staff is friendly and extremely competent. I have never received poor service nor regretted any of the fees I have paid.
#2- I ordered from Domino’s Pizza.
In both instances I began my transaction on-line.
#1-In going to the Spa’s website, though I am familiar with their locale and a loyal customer, I browsed the menu of services and since it was Sunday morning and many businesses are closed or have shortened hours in Utah on Sunday, I primarily was trying to book an on-line appointment. Alas, the hours were wrong and the only form available was to either sign-up for their newsletter or enter my info to have someone contact me. Nowhere was an option to schedule an appointment or book services. Basically, everything directed me to “CALL NOW”! So, out of a lack of any other option I called and left a message (though on the site it said they should have been open) and the cheerful “Happy Father’s Day” greeting on the machine made me further wonder about their competence. I called them back 10 min. after their appointed opening time relayed on the outplayed message since they had not returned my call, booked my appointment and had a very relaxing afternoon enjoying the facilities.
#2-When I ordered 3 sandwiches and wings from Dominos.com, I viewed their menu, was directed to the Store that served my area, placed an order for 4 people and paid. I was immediately given a cool widget whose theme I could choose and it tracked my order. Interestingly enough, it relayed the info through every step of the process- “Your order was placed at 5:41 approximate delivery time 22-32 min, Sarah began making your sandwiches at 5:46, your sandwiches were placed in the oven at 5:51, Glen left to deliver your order at 6:01”. My fellow Managers at the Store were giving me grief, “Oh, do you have to place the order on-line because you’re the e-Commerce Director? “And “I bet there’s not even a Sarah working there”. I immediately picked up the phone, was asked to hold and after a 3-5 min wait was answered back with “Do you want to hear about our specials?” I replied no and asked if there was indeed someone named Sarah employed there. The answer that she was busy making sandwiches at the moment won me my lunch.
My Spa visit was over 40 times more expensive than what I spent on lunch, but if I were to compare the two transactions based purely on ease and convenience the pizza joint wins. I literally had to fight to do business with a Spa I enjoy and frequent often and got Dominos for the first time in years because it was easy and transparent. Also, I sent Sara a healthy tip, but Glen who took 26 min to drive about 2.5 miles didn’t fare as well.
How easy are we in the Auto Business making it for our Customers to do business with us?
Transparency and an absence of hassle will win over price and location nearly every time in building engagement and consummating a transaction. Sure, the old argument stands that the customer MAY just take my easily proffered information to a closer Dealer to match the deal I gave, but more than likely, they shopped them anyway and were told to CALL NOW!
So today I will once again look at my on-line presence with a consumer’s mind-set and re-evaluate my sales strategy. After all, though buying a vehicle is a bit larger transaction than getting a sandwich, I want doing business with my Store to be at least as comparatively easy as ordering lunch.