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Defining Customer Experience for Long-Term Retention
When it comes to creating a successful sale, customers’ experiences matter from the moment they first engage with a dealership online or in person. Repeating successful experiences requires careful tracking and analysis of each experience to understand which experiences create success. Having that scalable success is the dance of sales, and finding an impeccable team to do this continually is what is required.
What Experience Do You Create? Customers begin their experience with your brand from the moment they visit your website or walk into your showroom or service center. Do your customers experience a predictable and positive engagement? Do you make every guests feel special? Or, in the rush of getting cars out do some of your personnel perform in only a “satisfactory” manner. Not badly, but just “OK,” maybe skipping over something.
We are in the human business selling products for $25K, $45K and over $80K. Leaving customers “satisfied” after a purchase or a visit isn’t empowering for them – nor is it good for your store. Why is it in the hospitality industry, guests frequently use experience words like “outstanding”, or “commendable” or “marvelous and superb”? Isn’t it time to take a page out of this $115 – 500 a night industry and update our review and CSI nomenclature? Instead of using the benchmark term as “satisfied’, upping the ante to “extraordinary” (for example) may begin to shift customers own experience of their experience.
Training your employees to provide a cohesive engagement and experience with each and every customer and digital guest is imperative.
Do You Meet Expectations Continuously? The way to create repeat customers is for them to know that your dealership solves problems with little effort. Once you create a predictable, consistent experience, it is important to measure your success. Here are 3 ways to track and evaluate your customer processes.
1. Encourage customer feedback. At each step in the process, your employees can solicit feedback about customer experience. Create a list of questions your staff can ask to ensure your customers’ needs are being met. Provide training so your staff understands the subtleties of body language and verbal responses. When someone detects that a customer is dissatisfied, be sure they are empowered to find an answer.
2.Be the customer. Mentally put yourself in the customer’s shoes. When they are waiting for someone, do they have a comfortable, quiet place to work or relax? Or, is the TV blaring? Do they have a choice? Would you gladly exchange places with your customers? Check in with customers while they are waiting to see if there is something else they would like you to add.
3. Solicit honest reviews. Talk to your prospects and customers. Let them know you value their feedback, good or bad. Bad reviews should be accepted as gifts. People aren’t always willing to tell you what they don’t like, but they are very willing to tell others. Observe on the floor discussion and work to intercept issues as they are happening and move to correct immediately. An inconvenienced customer can turn into a loyal advocate if they know you solve their issues quickly.
In competitive environments like the car industry, customer experience matters. Being known as a dealership who provides a total, convenient experience will deliver results to your bottom line.