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Improving the Car Buying Experience By Maximizing the CRM

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There is one constant complaint from automotive customers: Nobody likes the car buying process. In fact, according to a 2016 Autotrader Car Buyer of the Future Study, less than 1 percent of consumers like the current process.

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The study further explains that the two biggest sources of car buying frustration are that it takes too much time and it is overly stressful and unpleasant.

Too often, customers walk into a dealership with an appointment that is not acknowledged when they arrive at the store. Customers also dislike when forms they filled out online do not follow them to the dealership. Most importantly, there are too many dealers not listening to what a customer wants in terms of make, model, color and trade-in — even after they have told them via email or in prior conversations. These common mistakes help create a drawn-out, disjointed purchasing process at the dealership. But many of these mistakes can be easily corrected if dealers utilized the tools available to them to streamline and improve the process.

Customers are doing more and more research online at home before they ever visit a dealership, which is resulting in, on average, less than two dealership visits for every car purchased. So, dealers need to use the tools at their fingertips, including the CRM, to make the customer experience a quick, personal and more enjoyable one.

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How can you make customer interactions more personal? Focus on the quality of communications. Dealers need to be thoughtful and thorough in their responses to customers. They need to pay attention to the information that customers have already provided to them during the lead-generation process. It is critical for the dealer to recognize what the customer has already said they want. Enter every conversation with a customer into the CRM so that everyone can be on the same page with them in follow-up conversations. This not only makes the customer experience more enjoyable, but it helps the car buying experience go faster.

Dealers also need to remember to treat customers as people — not just as buyers. As you learn more about your customer, be thoughtful and personable when using the information they have provided. If you take the extra five minutes to do this, you’ll have a better chance of that lead culminating in a deal. If you have a customer whose lease is expiring, for example, be proactive in reaching out to them and asking them what’s next. This is how you build customer relationships which can result in a lifetime customer.

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Your most powerful tool in personalizing and adding efficiency to the process is the CRM. The CRM is where all your customer data lives and is available to you. Leveraging the CRM to personalize communications, connect the digital and the physical informational touchpoints and acknowledge what the customer has already done before they walk in the door will increase satisfaction among your customers. That improvement may mean the difference between a one-time customer and a customer for life.

Mark Vickery

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