A customer centric approach isn't something a dealership simply stumbles into or takes on halfheartedly. It has to be a deliberate decision that starts with the owner and moves through the entire organization. In order to ensure that everyone at the dealership is on the same page, it’s an excellent idea ensure that everyone in the dealership is aware of the new customer centric initiative. When it comes to building value in sales, everyone from the person who answers the phone to the sales staff themselves must be on board with the new direction.
Setting Expectations with Sales and Finance Staff
We suggest that dealerships kick off their customer centric initiative by holding a meeting with the sales and finance team. It’s essential that the general manager or owner of the dealership be in attendance to address any concerns or complaints.
Should questions or concerns arise, they’re typically focused on why the dealership has chosen to begin providing a complimentary maintenance program to its customers. Staff often see this as a factor that will cost them money, so it’s important to educate them on how it will make them money over time.
Part of this education is helping them understand that building customer loyalty through a complimentary maintenance program makes a customer twice as likely to return to purchase their next vehicle. This saves the salesperson and dealership time and money in terms of not having to seek out new leads. One good question for sales staff is this: does anyone want to sell just one car to a customer, or would you prefer them to return to you for their next vehicle and their next?
Which Dealerships Succeed in Building Value in Sales?
Creating success through the customer centric approach starts at the very top with the owner of the dealership. They must take a progressive, long-term approach that values the human touch in regards to customer loyalty and retention over short-term gains through pushing a sale and moving on to the next customer.
This goes far beyond the customer’s initial experience when they purchase and leave the dealership with their new vehicle. It also applies when they return for every single complimentary service appointment. Building a relationship during this period helps ensure that when the time comes for non-warranty repair work and paid maintenance such as new tires or brakes, they’ll think of your dealership first. When the customer needs a new vehicle — or a friend or family member is in the market for one — your dealership will be at the top of their list.
Utilizing the Customer Experience Transformer to Maximize Customer Retention
Another important part of building value in sales is always striving to improve all aspects of the customer experience. That’s where Performance Administration Corp’s Customer Experience Transformer (CXT) can help.
One hour after a service appointment is complete, your customers will receive a CXT-generated text message or email containing a customer experience survey, with 0-6 being on the low end of the spectrum “detractors,” and 9 or 10 being in the highly sought-after “promoter” range. If the customer rates their experience at a 9 or 10, this means your staff is doing everything right and we will encourage these customers to leave their positive feedback on the social media site of your choosing.
A 7 or 8, however, means that the customer is neutral and isn’t completely sold on your dealership. It’s essential to understand why the customer didn’t give your dealership a top score and find out how you can work to achieve a 9 or 10 in the future. Anything under a 7 should raise real concerns that your dealership needs to make significant changes to ensure customer satisfaction. All CXT ratings are shared with management so that they can identify specific issues and work to address them.
Marketing Your Customer Centric Approach
Finally, as your dealership moves full-force into your new customer centric process, feel free to shout it from the rooftops. Make it a part of your marketing materials — from your social media campaigns to your television commercials. Excellent CXT survey ratings provide a great opportunity to let people know about the exceptional service your dealership provides. If a customer rates you with 9s and 10s, send them a “That’s great to hear! Please share your experience!” reply with links to your social media pages or car dealer ratings websites.
With everyone at your dealership on board — from the owner and management all the way through the sales and finance staff — you’ll soon start to see how the human touch and a customer centric sales process truly does help you with building value in sales.
Did you miss our introduction to the customer centric process? Check out the first blog in our series here.