The automotive industry is standing toe-to-toe with several marketplace disruptors — all of which affect your dealership. Among consumers, there is an increased demand for ride sharing and in-vehicle technology, and overall vehicle needs are changing. Autonomous cars are coming closer to being a reality for everyday drivers, and consumers in general are increasingly seeking out online shopping sources. There have been so many changes to the marketplace that many businesses are struggling to keep up, and for dealerships specifically, innovation continues to move at a breakneck pace.
- Data — It can’t be said enough: Intelligent consumer insights are the key to providing what today’s consumers need in the marketplace. Data will differentiate your dealership. It will help you personalize every shopper’s experience by being able to offer exactly the right vehicle, at exactly the right time. When you invest in a comprehensive data-mining tool, you’ll get actionable results and valuable insights that will increase your bottom line.
- Customer Experience — You can’t afford to miss in this area. This is the one thing shoppers can’t get from a digital experience. Customers can walk into your dealership, get one-on-one attention, interact with knowledgeable sales professionals and test drive the perfect vehicle. This part of the buying experience still matters to shoppers, and it’s important to let them know it matters to you, too. Consider investing in mobile technology to help your team quickly look up comparisons and reviews while on the lot with customers. Additionally, ensure your team is familiar with vehicle features so they are able to answer customer questions.
- Communication — Our communication tools are continuously being innovated. It’s time to ditch the old ways of communicating, both with consumers and with dealership staff. Today’s shoppers are fast-paced, and they expect quick answers, which means your dealership should have a streamlined process in place. It’s worth the investment to replace your old intercom system and memo pads with an innovative communication and collaboration platform that’s aimed at making dealership interactions smoother and more efficient. You’ll have happier customers, and your employees will get their jobs done more effectively.
In addition to giving themselves permission to step away from traditional ways of doing things, dealerships must focus on innovative, consumer-driven solutions and offer continuous education for their teams to ensure they are prepared to meet modern shopper needs. Change can be difficult, but you can motivate your entire team to embrace innovation by doing a few simple things:
- Promote team strengths. You have an outstanding group of professionals, so let them know they’re doing a great job. Gallup recently found that when employees become aware of their strengths, they become 7.8 percent more productive. When you let them know they’re doing well, they’ll be more willing to invest in innovative changes for the dealership.
- Encourage growth. People are naturally motivated by opportunities to grow, and it’s essential to develop your employees. When your employees know they’re being encouraged to grow as leaders in the dealership, they’ll be more excited to help with innovative efforts and offer excellent service.
- Communicate innovation and change. Things can move quickly with innovation, so be sure everyone is on the same page and understands what’s going on. They’ll know what’s expected of them — and they’ll be more eager to participate.
- Celebrate the wins as a team. It’s important to take time to focus on dealership successes. It’s hard work to compete in a busy marketplace, stay ahead of technology and build relationships with customers at the same time; so celebrate when great things happen.
- Create a thriving culture. Promote a culture that values the work of everyone, and ensure employees know where to go when they have questions or need assistance, especially in times of change and innovation. By creating transparency, employees will know they can consistently get their jobs done well.
There are big things happening in the marketplace right now, and with them, there is a huge opportunity for your dealership to shine. You can be in the spotlight by offering excellence in customer experience, a knowledgeable staff and innovative processes. When you display the traits consumers are looking for in a business, you’ll build trust and earn their loyalty — both now and in the future.