Customers are changing the game for businesses everywhere by demanding higher-quality experiences, quicker feedback and more informed professionals than ever before. In fact, while dealerships of the past may have depended heavily on vehicle inventory, features and service to draw shoppers in, it now takes much more. Consumers are on the lookout for businesses that stand apart from the rest by offering innovative experiences focused on their unique wants and needs in the marketplace. By changing up the ways you meet customer expectations, you can ensure your dealership enjoys success in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
But how are you supposed to provide a seamless, tailored experience for every shopper? It’s a fair question, especially since you likely do business with a wide range of consumers. From Gen Z (just beginning their automotive shopping experiences) to Baby Boomers (experienced vehicle shoppers) and everyone in between, you’ll be challenged with meeting a wide variety of customer needs.
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- Be great listeners. Your customers have a lot to say, especially on social media, so this means your team needs to keep their eyes and ears open, both at the dealership and online, when consumers are talking about their automotive needs, concerns and preferences. Consumer insights offer a direct, inside line of communication to exactly what shoppers are thinking — and for your sales team, this is like striking gold.
- Gather and consolidate data. Data is everywhere. There’s a wealth of it in your CRM, and as you read this article, it’s piling up on social sites as shoppers chat, share insights, complete profiles and update their timelines. Encourage your team to be on the lookout for data wherever consumers are sharing — and then ensure everyone is consolidating and organizing information so it’s easily accessible when it’s needed.
- Personalize transactions. From personalized emails to direct phone calls, today’s consumers respond better when they know you’ve gone out of your way to interact with them personally. And don’t forget to take your customer service online. Shoppers are increasingly turning to social platforms to ask questions or leave feedback, and when you respond promptly and directly to individual posts, consumers will notice.
- Ask the right questions. Shoppers want to let you know what they love — as well as what could be improved upon. If you’re not getting the information you need, try asking in a different way. Consider online polls and surveys, or try adding a questionnaire to your Website. Don’t be afraid to change things up and ask questions in an innovative format in order to gain valuable consumer insights that will help your dealership.
- Embrace customer feedback. Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, all feedback is useful to you, because it gives you an opportunity to reach out and connect with customers, as well as future shoppers. Remember: Your responses to online feedback are seen by everyone, so it’s your chance to shine as a customer-service pro by offering positive solutions and assistance for every situation.
Dealerships have long been saddled with the reputation of having slow processes and less-than-ideal communication, but with today’s technology and insights, you’re able to offer exactly what shoppers are looking for — innovative, positive buying experiences; insightful, up-to-the-minute data; and a knowledgeable team who’s focused on getting to know every customer. With all these things going for you, your dealership can offer exceptional shopping experiences. Sure, customers may have changed the game and raised their expectations — but there’s no doubt about it; with innovative thinking and a few new strategies, your dealership’s in it to win it.
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