According to an interesting study by Forrester Research, many businesses fail to communicate in a way that enhances and solidifies the business-customer relationship. The same can be said for some dealerships.
The study found that the most critical way to earn repeat business and create brand loyalty is to humanize communications. While the survey reports many different responses and drivers affecting consumer decisions about who to conduct business with, the following were found to be the most important:
- Speaks like a regular person – The automotive industry is full or lingo and jargon that a typical customer does not understand in both the sales and service process. This can very quickly lead to lost sales and/or service business, just because the customer doesn’t know what you are saying. If the customer cannot understand you, it is hard to build rapport and a relationship that leads to future business.
- Values my time and business – Too often customers are treated as a transaction rather than a valued asset. Sometimes it’s because of the hustle and bustle happening in the dealership, or processes designed to make transactions faster. But the sad fact is that the customer can easily get lost in that shuffle. Many dealerships focus on transaction time, which consumers report as a pain point - get them in and out as quickly as possible. But then it can be easy to forget the simple human interactions that make the customer feel valued. Small signs of appreciation that do not take long such as, “Thank you for coming in, Mr. Smith. We appreciate your business,” can go a long way towards connecting with a customer on both a personal and brand level.
- Communicates in the tone I prefer – I’m sure you’ve all had those conversations where the tone is perceived as rude; when that was not the intention. The same can happen in communications between salespeople or advisors and customers. And sometimes there is no chance to clarify the discussion, especially when it comes to email and text. As a result, the customer just ceases to communicate, and the dealership loses their business.
The key to future success and profitability can easily depend on how well you communicate to and interact with customers. And, it's not merely how you communicate, but that you do so in a personal, human way; one that the customer best responds to.