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Are you making the most of your face-to-face customer interactions? (1)

Jon Oxtoby

Nathan Elliott

04 Jun 2018

Face-to-face interactions are far less frequent in our digital world. But face-to-face interaction cannot be beaten in terms of delivering customer service, we’re all humans and have a basic need for connection and relationships. This will always be the case.

Having said that, there is still ample opportunity for excellent face-to-face interactions in the automotive industry with services, MOTs and upgrades. These are golden opportunities in terms of customer satisfaction. Are you seizing them like you should be? Are you doing enough?

Face-to-face is where you have the opportunity to truly engage with your customers and this is powerful in itself. Here are some actions you need to take to get the most out of your face-to-face interactions:

1.    Create a customer profile

Each of your customers should have a profile made up of previous data and interactions. This data is going to include demographic data which is basic information such as age, gender and income. Psychological data such as their personality, preferences and behaviour. Data can also be lifestyle, including likes, dislikes, life events and hobbies.

This data is going to give you a 360 view of the customer. The data will need to be stored in one single place that can be accessed easily and updated frequently. A CRM system that tracks interactions in real time will fuel your customer profile. Every call, conversation, agreement and interaction is stored in one place and can be accessed with ease at any given time. This is with the aim of improving customer relationships; a digital system to inform and improve face-to-face customer relationships.

2.    Preparation

There is no use in all this data if you don’t put it to use. Prepping for every interaction with a customer makes the world of difference to how the interaction goes. If you know a customer is coming in then have a look at their profile. If you can see that they came in last year for a service and you have written a note to say they spoke about their baby that was due in the next few months, ask them how it’s going.

“Last time you were here you were expecting a baby girl, how is she doing?”

Simply asking about their day lets people relax when coming to the dealership, rather than it just being something they had to check off their list. The conversation will engage the customer on a personal level, they’ll appreciate that you have remembered this and, what do you know, they need two new car seats and a few add ons for both their cars.

Not only does this show you care about the customer and your relationship, but also allows you to upsell based upon preparation and anticipating their needs.

3.    Integration

The processes discussed above should be dealership-wide. It’s no good your sales person knowing the customer inside and out and the receptionist not recognising or greeting them properly. If something needs to be explained by the services team directly to the customer, they need to know the customer’s needs and understand their priorities. This is going to create a genuine, smooth experience for the customer, with everyone on the same page and ready to interact with the customer.

4.    Listen

The only way you will be able to obtain accurate data and logs of your interactions with customers is by actively listening to what they say. Enough of waiting for your customer to finish talking so you can tell them what else they need to buy. Listen, digest, ask questions and advise based upon their pain points and them as a person.

All of the above are going to enable you to produce a consistent message, keeping the face-to-face customer experience consistent, not only every time they come into the dealer, but every time they interact with you digitally too. With the availability and ease of digital showrooms, now is the time to ensure consistency of messages and offerings and for standards to not only stay the same but to grab the face-to-face opportunity and exceed expectations.

Topics: retention, customer experience, crm, dealerships, dealer management, interaction

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