In the competitive world of automotive sales, car dealerships must go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd. While offering quality vehicles is essential, it’s equally crucial to focus on creating memorable customer experiences. Happy and satisfied customers are not only more likely to return for future purchases but also become valuable brand ambassadors, spreading positive word-of-mouth that can significantly improve your dealership’s reputation.
In this blog, we’ll explore some of the best practices that can help car dealerships create lasting impressions and build long-term customer loyalty, including tips to:
- Personalize the experience
- Foster cross-departmental collaboration
- Develop soft skills
- Embrace technology
- Offer value-added services
- Solicit and acting on customer feedback
Personalize the experience
- Create a familiar and comfortable environment: Personalizing the customer’s experience goes beyond just the initial sale or delivery of a vehicle. One effective strategy is to ensure that customers visit the service department before leaving the dealership. By escorting them to the service department, introducing them to the service advisors, and helping them schedule their first maintenance appointment, dealers can establish a sense of familiarity and trust right from the start. This personal touch makes customers feel comfortable and confident about future maintenance needs, increasing the likelihood of them returning to the dealership for servicing.
- Tailor recommendations to satisfy their needs: For F&I particularly, a great way to personalize the experience is through digital tools that allow customers to customize their protection products based on their particular needs. At LGM, we launched the first ever Recommendation Engine, a digital self-service tool that uses Machine Learning to help customers learn about and select F&I products before even setting foot in a dealership.
Foster cross-departmental collaboration
- Ensure a hassle-free process: Creating seamless transitions between dealership departments helps customers to have a great overall experience. When a customer walks into a dealership, they hope for a smooth and hassle-free journey from browsing the cars to making a purchase to setting up their first maintenance appointment. A disjointed or confusing process can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction, tarnishing the dealership’s reputation and potentially driving away potential repeat business.
- Build trust by demonstrating a coordinated team: Seamless transitions demonstrate a well-coordinated team effort, where sales, finance, and service departments work together cohesively to address the customer’s needs. This synergy builds trust and confidence in the dealership, assuring the customer that they are in capable hands throughout their entire journey. By providing a smooth experience, dealerships create a positive and lasting impression on their customers, increasing the likelihood of repeat business, referrals, and glowing reviews that contribute to long-term success in the competitive automotive market.
Develop soft skills
- Engage interpersonal skills to build rapport: Soft skills like communication, emotional intelligence, and problem solving are highly important in allowing customers to feel comfortable in the dealership. Which is why it’s imperative to encourage dealership staff to actively listen to customers’ needs and concerns and address them promptly and courteously. A positive interaction with your staff can leave a lasting impression on customers, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty. Dealers may consider implementing soft skills lessons into their staff’s training portfolio.
- Capture attention before they even get to the dealership: Incorporating technology into the customer experience can greatly enhance their dealership journey. For instance, virtual reality or augmented reality can be used to offer immersive vehicle tours, allowing customers to explore the car’s features and interiors before even setting foot on the lot.
- Transparency & consistency through menu selling: Menu selling is frequently used in F&I and refers to a sales approach where a range of products, services, and add-ons are presented to customers in a structured and comprehensive manner to provide customers with a clear understanding of the available choices and their associated benefits, allowing them to make informed decisions about what additional products or services they might want to include in their purchase. One powerful digital tool that LGM offers our dealer partners is our eMenu. With the eMenu, F&I managers can use technology to digitally present the F&I options available to their customers. F&I managers interested in learning more about this product and specific training on how to best use the tool can click the link below for information on our Learning Journey Program.
- Stay connected after the sale to foster long-term relationships: Customer relationship management tools (CRMs) can also be highly beneficial for automating the customer’s journey beyond their vehicle purchase. Personalized, modular journeys can be built to have regular touchpoints with customers about their ownership experience, offer them deals or incentives to come back to the dealership, and leave customers feeling in capable hands even after they drive off the lot. You may also consider starting a newsletter that provides valuable automotive tips, industry news, and exclusive offers to keep customers engaged and informed. These thoughtful communications demonstrate a dealership’s commitment to providing exceptional customer care beyond the sale.
Offer value-added services
- Give them a reason to return: To differentiate your dealership from competitors, consider offering value-added services that go beyond just selling cars. Provide complimentary car washes, maintenance clinics, or periodic health checks for vehicles purchased from your dealership. These additional services not only showcase your commitment to customer care but also encourage customers to return for their automotive needs.
Solicit and act on customer feedback
- Show that you listen and care: Customer feedback is an invaluable tool for improvement. Consider implementing a system that encourages customers to share their experiences and suggestions after purchasing or servicing a vehicle. Proactively review this feedback and promptly make necessary changes to address any pain points or areas of concern. Demonstrating that you value your customers’ opinions and take decisive action based on their feedback fostering a sense of trust and partnership.
Want help implementing these strategies? We’re here for you.
In the competitive automotive market, creating memorable customer experiences is essential for dealership success. At LGM, we understand the significance of delivering exceptional customer journeys, and we’re here to help. Whether you need assistance with personalized interactions, seamless transitions between departments, or integrating technology for a better experience, our team of experts is ready to collaborate with you.
Reach out to us at Sales@LGM.ca to elevate your dealership’s customer-centric approach, build stronger relationships, and drive long-term success. Let’s work together to leave a lasting impact on your customers and set your dealership apart in the industry.