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Jason Unrau

Jason Unrau Freelance Contributor

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Make the Customer Experience an Advantage

Ask anyone which is more important, customer service or price, and you’ll get a consistent answer: both. In order to have the opportunity to serve the customer, you have to be priced competitively. But once they’ve arrived at your store, the customer experience isn’t just a good thing.  

CX is everything.

Research from global consulting firm, Stax, reports that price is the driving factor for only 18 percent of purchasing decisions. That means everything else – the dealership amenities, comfort, peace of mind, customer treatment, friendliness, brand-based knowledge, transparency, honesty – is collectively more important than the number at the bottom of the invoice.

Consider you own choices. A quick lube shop at the street corner may have to do in a time crunch. But while they’re working on your oil change, you’re either a prisoner in your own car or in an uncomfortable plastic chair flipping through a Reader’s Digest from 1994. A grimy coffee pot and CNN news coverage might be on as you try not to lock eyes with the shop manager at their keyboard three steps away.

But the dealership? You pull into the bright, clean service drive where a seat cover and floor mat are put in your car. Neatly-dressed service advisors greet you, walk around your car with you, and discuss your service needs. You’re either shuttled away or you have a seat in their air-conditioned/heated customer lounge for a cup of coffee and free Wi-Fi or browse the selection of new cars in the showroom. If you have work to do, you plug into the complimentary work station and plunk away on your keyboard until YouTube takes you down a rabbit trail.

When your car is done, the importance of customer experience shows up again. A credit card machine handed through your window at the quick lube shop versus a personal invoice walkthrough with the service advisor.

Customers Want the Experience!

Everyone loves to be treated well. It makes us feel good inside. At the dealership, you have an advantage in CX that you should be exploiting. Your dealership has:

  • Professionally trained front end staff to greet customers
  • Knowledgeable service advisors to write up their work orders and communicate with customers.
  • Factory-trained technicians that have brand-specific knowledge no one else has.
  • Receptionists, lot attendants, detailers, and others to make their experience even better.

These people are a distinct advantage for your store. They make sure every customer has a consistent, fantastic visit in your dealership. That does wonders for reviews, referrals, and repeat visits.

But more importantly, it’s what it does for the subconscious. A wonderful experience the first time around becomes an expectation. It’s peace of mind. And that’s what keeps a customer coming back time after time.

Apply Customer-Centric Training

Every dealership does it in some form already, yet skills for interacting with customers and tailoring their experience to them can always be more intentional and thorough. Focus on training that emphasizes listening to the customer and understanding their underlying concerns as well as sessions that build job skills to make the customer experience flawless. That may be phone skills, computer training, DMS training, or conflict resolution training.

In addition, keep your facility in pristine condition. CX depends heavily on perception. How you treat the customer and your facility is how they expect you’ll be treating their car!

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