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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Paige Donnelly

Paige Donnelly Owner

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Who do customers turn to when they have a technology question with their vehicle?

Most of my adult life has been spent working in sales in one way or another: I spent 5 years working in cellphone sales, and then turned up the heat and decided to get into automotive sales. One would assume that these two positions would be very different from one another, but that is not necessarily the case. I actually entered the dealership world with a much larger knowledge of infotainment systems/touchscreens/in-vehicle technology than most of my fellow employees, who had been working in automotive sales for much longer than I had! In order to explain why I had such a large understanding of vehicle touchscreens and infotainment systems despite never previously working at a dealership, we must actually look at our customers. When a customer purchases a new vehicle, it is supposed to be a time of excitement and joy. Unfortunately, a lot of this excitement can quickly turn into frustration as customers pull off the lot only to realize that they have no idea how to work their new vehicle's touchscreen, get their phone properly connected, or have a celebratory "jam out" session to their favorite music streaming apps.

After the customer inevitably becomes upset with their "confusing" and "overcomplicated" vehicle's touchscreen and user interface, where do they turn? The primary hope is that the vehicle was delivered to the customer in such a way that none of these problems even occur in the first place. The secondary hope is that if the customer has a problem with their vehicle, they will return to the dealership for service and guidance. Isn't this what we want our customers to do if they have a NON-technology related problem with their vehicle? But the reality of the situation is that often times neither of these hopes are met, and instead, the customer brings their car to the technology expert that they know best: the local cellphone store. I cannot tell you how many times I had to ask a fellow employee to cover my station while I went outside to help a customer pair their phone to their new vehicle!

It quickly became obvious to me that I was lightyears ahead in terms of understanding and operating infotainment systems in comparison to my fellow automobile sales associates, and I was excited that this knowledge may give me some type of advantage during my time at the dealership. Although this was definitely true (my customer satisfaction scores were some of the highest in the entire dealership), it was not as true as I had expected. I had expected to be the hero who could save the day when a customer came in for help with their vehicle's touchscreen and getting their phone paired, but the fact of the matter was, that rarely if ever did customers come BACK to the dealership with their technology questions! They were already being taken care of down at the local phone store!

Taking all of this into consideration, I made my next career move, and Emerald Infotainment Specialists was born. Providing training for car dealership staff on how to properly operate these infotainment systems, as well as use them to better connect with customers and close more sales, is the primary goal of EIS. Still a young company, research has been a huge initial focus. Recently, EIS conducted a survey at The Digital Dealer Conference & Expo in order to gain an even better understanding of how the gap can be closed on this missed opportunity. Results are shown in detail below:

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No alt text provided for this image

As you can see, even though most dealers prefer customers to return to their dealership for service, this is often not communicated during the sales process. When you take a look at the results and DO NOT INCLUDE dealerships selling luxury vehicles, the results are even more striking:

 

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No alt text provided for this image

 

The results are in, and I have to surmise that some of these dealers only hope this is communicated during the sales process, but felt compelled to say "yes, of course we do!". If you are reading this post and questioning the practices of your own dealership, check out Emerald Infotainment Specialists' website for more information.

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