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In their new book, The Intuitive Customer, authors Colin Shaw and Ryan Hamilton contend that companies that try to fight declining customer satisfaction by lowering prices are going about customer satisfaction the wrong way. Instead, they state that the magic to winning customer loyalty is based on understanding what the customer will do next.
An article in MediaPost, recently shared some of the basic precepts in the book, including the fact that roughly half of a customer’s buying decisions are based on how they FEEL about a company and that understanding the psychology behind why they choose a business is key to tweaking processes and services that cater to those feelings.
Sadly, many consumers don’t like going to car dealerships and if roughly half of customer choice is based on how the customer “feels” about a business, there is a long trail to get there. An interesting point shared in the book is that the most irrelevant aspects of customer experience are often the most important. Some dealers spend a lot of time, money and effort attempting to create an excellent customer experience through increased efficiency, improved technology and dealership premises. What they may not consider are the things that are seemingly irrelevant because… well… they’re seemingly irrelevant.
While a recent trend has dealers installing movie theaters, coffee bars and other amenities, perhaps what really influences the customer experience are the “seemingly irrelevant” actions. Those small actions that go towards improving the customer experience, such as cleaning and vacuuming the customer’s vehicle after it is serviced. Many dealerships wash vehicles but not as many vacuum them. If the vehicle looks great on the outside but not so much on the inside, that could perhaps leave the customer with a less than great customer experience. That’s just one small example to provide food for thought.
The last point the author’s make is how do customers REMEMBER their experience? Do they remember inconvenience, dirty bathrooms, inconsiderate or apathetic employees? What a customer remembers is a completely individual experience.
Everyone is different and there is no way to design an experience that is perfect for everyone. Just as in sales, we tailor how we sell and the tactics we use to each and every customer. Perhaps the customer experience should be viewed in the same way. How about making an effort to establish what provides your customers with the best possible customer experience so that they leave happy, with a memorable experience which they will share with their friends and which keeps them loyal to your dealership.
If you get to know your customers, listen to their needs and wants while paying attention to how they respond to you, the chances of identifying the seemingly irrelevant and making it relevant increases. Customers will then leave with positive feelings and memories. And that means increased customer retention and profitability. In fact, according to authors Shaw and Hamilton, this practice “has translated into a 10% year-over-year sales increase for the past 10 years, reduced customer churn and increased market share.” And that’s definitely something worth striving for.