How Well Do You Know Your Consumers?
Do you know their likes, dislikes, what content they’re most likely to engage with? If you don’t, you should. Knowing your consumers is the first step toward turning them into customers who will return time and again to your dealership. Whether you know it or not, consumers have been talking, and there are some things they’d like business owners to know. Some of their revelations may surprise you, but all of them are things you can immediately turn into actionable items in order to make your dealership their go-to automotive destination:
- Quality and attitude are more important that speed. Although today’s shoppers are focused on immediate-gratification in the marketplace, speed doesn’t count as much as ensuring the service they receive is high quality and delivered with a great attitude. 44%of U.S. consumers will take their business elsewhere if they receive poor customer service, a statistic that fuels the importance of this shopper standard.
- Shoppers know what they are looking for—and they are doing research to make sure they get it. Automotive consumers are looking for some very specific things when they are in-market, and a recent J.D. Power Autoshopper study tells us 96% of all automotive internet users do online research before buying. Today’s shoppers want to be an integral part of the process from beginning to end, and dealerships that recognize this and work to facilitate information gathering will get ahead and gain loyalty.
- Shoppers want to save, but they don’t want to look cheap. It’s one thing to be a savvy shopper, but it’s quite another to come off being cheap. Give shoppers great ways to save without making them look like they’re cutting corners and skimping on important items. Think about ways you can ensure they know about deals and incentives; this way, they won’t feel the need to haggle down to the penny. Keep in mind, if shoppers come to you with the goal of finding the safest family vehicle, your best approach may not be pushing the “cheap” message. Value and savings will win, but be sure to show a well-rounded choice that highlights their original intent of landing a safe and reliable family vehicle.
- Time is an important commodity. Time is something everyone is short on in today’sbusy world, so it’s important that while you build up all the other reasons to shop at your dealership, you also remind consumers the time they spend with you is time well-spent. Sure, the car-buying process is lengthy, and maintenance often takes a while, but strive to find ways to enhance the time customers spend in your dealership—and they’ll be happier to be there. Provide them with a comfortable waiting area, engaging and updated reading material, interactive technology that provides unique content, a great wifi connection, and other amenities; their stay in your dealership will be much more pleasant when you show you value their time.
- Everyone likes (good) surprises. It’s easy for shoppers to become overwhelmed with all the information they’re trying to absorb while in the dealership, so don’t feel like you have to let them in on everything all at once. Save a few small surprises for later, and you’ll end up shining in their eyes. For example, if you’re planning on throwing in a free oil change, surprise them with that when they show up for the service. Or if you’re planning on offering lifetime car washes, add that onto the end of individual sales as bonuses, and customers will be pleasantly surprised.
- Your customers want to be remembered. It doesn’t take a lot of time out of your day to add some extra touches to your sales routine and let customers know you’ve remembered them personally. For example, instead of sending form letters or emails, take the time to send individual correspondence to those who have visited your dealership. Potential customers will feel important to you and relevant to your business when you take the time to let them know you remember them.
- No one outgrows “Once upon a time.” Storytelling is proven to resonate with consumers, so don’t be afraid to make stories a large part of your content. Stories stick with people and make it easier to persuade, and for that reason, storytelling is a key component of selling. In fact, a whopping 92% of consumers say they would rather brands make ads feel like stories, rather than straight informational ads. Find ways to tell stories that convey your brand’s beliefs, experiences, and dedication to consumers. Not only will stories stick with potential customers, but they’ll also serve as compelling reasons to share your brand with others.
- Shoppers like the personal touch. What can your dealership do to stand out from the rest? For example, there are car washes people can simply drive through; and then there are the car washes that hand out the damp towlettes as an added bonus to allow drivers to clean out the inside of their vehicles as they roll through the wash. Think of ways your dealership can separate itself from the pack by providing over-the-top service and extras. Do you offer free coffee? How about upgrading to one of the new select-your-own-brew machines? The small upgrades don’t cost your dealership a lot, but they are definitely noticed by consumers.
- You don’t have to buy their love. It doesn’t take a fortune to get consumers’ attention and respect. The small things often add up even more than the large, expensive things, and while customers appreciate the amenities, they also appreciate the small favors. For example, if no one else is in the waiting room and a customer is waiting with a small child, why not change the TV channel to cartoons in order to help out the mom? Other things like ensuring you have up-to-date magazines, clean restrooms, and plenty of coffee cups are simple reminders that your customers are a priority.
- Loyalty programs should be less difficult than rocket science. Most shoppers can likely count up to a dozen plastic loyalty FOBs on their keychains, and that’s because we love loyalty programs. However, there’s a catch. They need to be simple enough and attainable enough to actually pay off. In addition, programs need to emotionally connect with consumers. Failing this, they simply won’t catch on. This aspect of customer retention is important, because according to Gartner Group, 80% of companies’ future revenue will come from just 20% of existing customers. Work to create loyalty programs that are easy to understand, fun to participate in, and that have attainable payoffs.
With 10 simple insights, your dealership is that much closer to delivering exactly the consumer experience that will bring shoppers back time and again. You’ll end up with more loyal customers, and you’ll also have shoppers who are excited to share what’s going on at your dealership. When you implement changes and show you’re truly paying attention to the things shoppers are saying, you’ll stand out as a business that cares about its customers and wants to create a successful brand story.