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Are you meeting customers on their terms?

Jon Oxtoby

Nathan Elliott

03 Sep 2018

We now live in a fast-paced world where technology is forever transforming our daily lives. Within the automotive sector I feel we have embraced technology and used it to our advantage in creating new car designs and models that not only look and perform better but also take into consideration the environment. 

What I think many of us didn’t expect or take into consideration was how technology would change the customer experience. The traditional car buying process is a thing of the past, in today’s world customers clearly do business on their own terms and they come well reinforced with information.

Cox Automotive found that 59% of shopping time is spent online and 49% of that is via a mobile device.

With all this technology and information available at the click of a button the customers’ expectations have increased- they expect more when they come into a dealership. They expect your staff to have immediate access to information such as specifications, pricing, financial plans and much more.

To do this, ideally your staff would need a DMS system that can integrate with mobile and tablets, so they have the information to hand as and when they need it- yep, with a click of a button, just like the customer. Dealing with customers in a minimum time frame, with accurate information, as requested will result in a positive experience which is likely to increase their purchase chances.

Now, I know this technology has already been adopted by dealerships but my question is, is this enough? Are dealerships really meeting customers on their terms with this amount of technology? I personally believe we automotive professionals need to continue to develop and adapt to technology changes not just for the customer, but the whole customer journey. By this I mean, aftersales.

Aftersales is where the profit is. This is because we are focused on retention, so surely the customer experience needs to be consistent with the experience they had when they brought the car, right?

Dealerships need to use more technology within their aftersales communications and marketing touches, with convenience and personalisation being at the forefront. When it’s time for their service what is the experience like? Can they do this online? Is it simple and easy for them? Is the online experience catered to them? Does the screen have upsell opportunities that are suitable for them and their vehicle? Is the confirmation of the booking done through a form of communication that they preferred?

These are all elements that need to be considered and from looking at those questions, it’s clear that all dealerships should be providing services like this. If customers can have great online experiences with Amazon why can’t they with dealerships?

I believe the automotive industry needs to start implementing technology like this and meet customers on their terms if they truly want customer retention. What do you think?

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