Creating a welcoming environment for car buyers at your dealership starts with a physical space that's hospitable and a team that can deliver excellent customer service each and every time. However, in today's increasingly digital and connected world, the future of automotive retail is going to have more to do with creating a welcoming environment for car buyers across multiple channels. Developing omnichannel approaches can help your store separate itself from the competition and deliver great customer experiences in new ways.
Back to the Basics: Creating a Welcoming Environment
In the age of the internet, customers are preparing for the car buying process online. More and more consumers are figuring out what vehicle they want and where they want to buy it from before physically setting foot in a dealership. You only have one shot to make a great first impression, and delivering excellent customer service starts with fostering a welcoming physical environment.
Here are some tips for fostering a comfortable space for potential buyers:
- Temperature – Don't overlook how important it is to make sure the store is a comfortable temperature for the season. There's no chance a customer is going to want to stick around if they're too cold or too hot.
- Snacks and Refreshments – Offering complimentary snacks and beverages is an effective strategy to make customers feel more welcome and more inclined to take their time exploring vehicles.
- Comfortable Space – Another nice touch is having somewhere customers can sit comfortably. This can be a place where buyers can enjoy their food and beverage, or where buyers can hop on a dealership tablet and explore vehicles digitally.
- Showing Respect – Showing customers that your team respects and values them is among the most important things you can do. Be punctual, respect their time, listen, give them the attention they deserve, and respect their personal space by giving them time to explore the showroom on their own.
Automotive Customer Service Tips in Car Dealerships
A welcoming environment extends far beyond the physical space the dealership occupies. It's also about the customer service your store can provide. How can the car industry improve customer service? Delivering a top notch experience with each and every potential buyer is a great place to start.
These tips can help you deliver excellent customer service in car dealerships:
- Walk a Mile in their Shoes – Put yourself in the customer's shoes to determine what the best experience possible might be. This type of reverse engineering can help your store develop customer-centric practices and help your team figure out what they need to do.
- Train for Greatness – Delivering consistently excellent customer service starts with having a process in place that your team follows every time. Practice this process during training sessions with your team. Also, have a process in place to monitor the results so adjustments can be made.
- Listen and Be Ready with Answers – While having a process in place is important, you also need to center it on listening to the customer. Open your ears and be there to answer their questions, provide informative resources, and solve their problems. Separate yourself from the competition by being as helpful as possible.
- Improve the Transaction Time – Speeding up the amount of time transactions take makes everybody happier. Your store can complete more sales in a shorter period of time, while customers get out the door faster. In the digital age, finding ways to make things faster and more seamless is easier than ever.
The Future of Automotive Retail: Being Welcoming Across Many Channels
As more and more consumers start the car buying process online, the role of the dealership is changing. The future of automotive retail is going to rely heavily on developing omnichannel approaches, as customers look for touchpoints beyond brick-and-mortar dealerships. Finding ways to utilize omnichannel communication and marketing can help your store stay relevant and gain a competitive advantage. Here are some tips for how your dealership can foster a welcoming environment digitally:
- Create Digital Touchpoints – Through social media, a smart phone app, online chatting, email marketing, and more, your store can increase its online presence to reach customers in new ways.
- Give Customers the Ability to Do Things Online – The internet is changing the behavior of car buyers in a big way. They are making decisions on what they want to buy, what they want to pay, and where they want to shop on the web. Your dealership can help make their decisions easier by giving them digital platforms to utilize. Whether it be the ability to learn more about and explore models, or start the application process, find ways to reach digitally-savvy car shoppers and cut down the time they need to spend in person at your store.
- Make the On- to Offline Transition Seamless – With buyers gathering information before visiting in person, you want to make sure the transition between them starting online and finishing offline is as seamless as possible. For example, if a prospective buyer is configuring a vehicle online, give them the ability to chat with an agent to answer any questions and schedule an appointment to come in to test drive it. Also, make sure their preferences are stored so they carry over across channel boundaries. Bridging this gap can increase efficiency and lead to more satisfied customers.
The Bottom Line
The future of automotive retail involves creating a welcoming environment for car buyers that extends beyond your physical store. While you have to be ready to provide excellent customer service in person, fostering an inviting digital presence can create a competitive advantage for years to come as the world continues to become more digital.
Auto Credit Express wants to help you better serve your customers and reach new ones with our extensive web presence and mission to provide excellent customer service. We're a top new, used, and subprime lead generating service that also offers a number of other dealer tools, products, and services to help you along the way. Learn more about how we can help your dealership by calling us at 888-535-2277 today. If you don’t have time to talk now, fill out our online contact form and we'll reach out to you!