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Don’t Get Distracted by the Shiny Objects

When looking at the future of the auto industry, specifically retail, it’s easy to get caught up in the “shiny objects” and focus on all the cool technology such as autonomous cars, ride-sharing, virtual reality sales, and all of the “disruptors” that are entering the space.

This can serve as a bit of a distraction and, as a result, many tend to stop thinking about the single most important thing in all of this: The Customer. Yes, some would argue that so-called disruptors are focusing on the customer – and these new technologies are certainly attempting to identify customer pain points.


But let’s stop for a minute and think about the commonality that exists in every disruptor -- they work hard to provide convenience, better customer interaction and engagement.

The future of the retail auto industry lies in the transformation of the customer experience in both sales and service. When interacting with your dealership, customers simply want the process to be easy, take less time and be more convenient for them, not for you.

Dealerships who learn this and adapt quickly will find that customers interact with them more often – and you certainly can’t sell or service a vehicle without interaction. It is vital to enable transactions through a channel of your customer’s choice. And those channels change dynamically depending on the reason for the interaction. For example, when scheduling service many customers just want to call in and make their appointment and get an email confirmation. When getting their vehicle serviced they would like text updates about vehicle status and want to receive their recommendation via email, so they can quickly review and approve. If it is a big repair, they probably want to call and talk to someone to get clarification.

There will always be tire-kickers, those who like to negotiate for hours at a dealership and even those who want a 100% online car-buying process. Each of those customers simply wants to interact in different ways and have it be their choice … not one you force on them.

When a customer wants to interact with you through a specific channel but you don’t offer it, what happens then? They will deal with you this one time, but will probably pick some other store that is “friendlier” the next time.

Due to the speed of technology development, our industry is in a transformative state. However, there will always be a need for interaction at some level. So don’t get lost in all the “shiny objects” as really it all boils down to is one thing: Customer interactions that promote convenience.

Views: 153

Tags: adapt, automotive, customer, disrupter, experience, industry, interaction, technology, transaction

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Comment by Rachael Murphey on January 9, 2017 at 8:22am

This is extremely relevant to me. I get distracted from what's really important a lot.

Comment by Ujj Nath on January 8, 2017 at 6:21am

Thank you both for the comments. Training is, of course, vital to ensuring that the entire dealership's staff is providing a great experience at every touch point. Technology is great for making things easier and more efficient but if the whole thing collapses when the customer actually gets to the dealership, you'll lose the customer no matter how efficient the beginning of the process is.

Comment by Manny Luna on January 5, 2017 at 10:58pm

 Big Tom LaPointe BOOM!

Trained process and infrastructure is what most dealers are struggling with, they refuse to get out of the rat race and hire, train, and invest in the new age customer experience. They fear change, and would rather keep spending more and more money on advertising instead of attacking a better solution. 

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 5, 2017 at 8:17pm

Good points here. None of this will happen unless dealers have quality, TRAINED staff in all the roles that connect with shoppers, buyers and customers.

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