By Mike Esposito, President and CEO, Auto/Mate Dealership Systems
When it comes to buying a car, one of the biggest areas of frustration for consumers is how long it takes. From the back-and-forth between salespeople and their managers to long wait times and confusing menu presentations in the F&I department, customers often rate this as their least favorite aspect of the car-buying process.
If you're serious about improving the customer experience in your dealership, these two technologies can help reduce the length of time it takes to buy a car:
1. Get (and Use) a Desking Tool
Just about every dealership management system (DMS) has a built-in desking tool, but not all dealerships are using them. Approximately 30 to 40 percent of sales managers still use a “four square,” with handwritten figures to present pricing options to customers.
All the back and forth involved with four squares and checking with the manager takes a lot of time, which is very frustrating to the customer.
A desking tool enables the sales manager to offer multiple options right up front. When the customer asks a "what if" question, the manager can punch in a new number and instantly multiple new options will appear. No running back and forth — just instant options that the customer can choose from.
2. Utilize Mobile Tablets
Think about it: Your customer has selected a new car. They're excited and can't wait to drive it off the lot. Then they're escorted to the F&I Manager's office and are told to wait ... and wait. The longer they wait, the more frustrated they get and the less amenable they are to sitting through what they perceive as nothing more than a sales presentation.
Creating a process to reduce this wait time is critical. Ideally, the customer wait time should be 15 minutes or less.
Mobile tablets can help to achieve this goal. When the F&I manager is alerted to a new deal, he or she can go out and hand the customer a mobile tablet. While the customer is waiting, they answer questions about their driving habits, history and how they plan to use the car. Not only does this make the wait time go quicker, it also greatly reduces the time of the menu presentation.
If you want to improve the customer experience at your dealership, reducing the time it takes to buy a car is a must. Desking tools and mobile tablets go a long way towards achieving this goal.