The Most important Element of Selling

Customer Experience

Have you ever returned to a store to find your experience vastly different? It happens. It could be a different salesperson or even the weather. But for whatever reason, your experience isn’t always the same.

But it should be.

A Tale of Two Clients

Let’s compare the experience of two clients in a dealership.

On the one hand, you have a client who’s greeted at the door, offered coffee or tea, and is then given a tour of the dealership before being introduced to the operations team.

On the other hand, you have a client who comes in afterwards, and has to wait for that tour to finish before someone acknowledges them. The coffee ran out and there’s a shift change, so no one can see them for ten minutes. As a result, they end up waiting in a hard, uncomfortable chair you dragged out of the basement last week and forgot to clean.

Who do you suppose is going to remember the service quality?

Customer service isn’t just a small piece of the puzzle; it’s the table you build it on. Without a solid base to work with, you can’t put anything together. Without focusing on the whole experience a client may have when they visit your dealership, you won’t even know what turns them off. Remember, you have to care about customer experience, or they’ll see through it all as a ploy.

Here are some ways to make it real.

Walking through the door

What do you offer clients when they come through the door? Do they have access to coffee or tea? Is your waiting room clean and easy to access?

Not only does the process have to be simple, but you need to give your clients something to do while they wait. Some dealerships have televisions set up, while others have started using interactive gaming systems that give more feedback into their desires. Remember that just showing car commercials will likely bore them silly if they’ve already done their research.

You’ll also notice many younger car-buyers looking for vehicles, sometimes with their children in tow. Take a cue from doctors’ and dental offices and have a small area sectioned off for the children so their parents can speak to you without interruption.

F And I

No one enjoys the finance and insurance conversation, so your goal should be to make it as comfortable as possible. If the conversation is with another team member, introduce them early and show off your support. Then, make sure to show the value instead of cost. Taking some of the same steps as you did when you first met will also help put your clients at ease.

Another great tip is to leave your phone at the door. Never answer your phone while you’re having an active conversation— especially text messages. Not only is it distracting, but as soon as you take your focus from your clients, you’ve destroyed the rapport you’ve been working on. The clients in your office took the time to visit, and you have voicemail for a reason.


Picking up the car

By the time a client picks up a vehicle, it will often be at their third visit. They’ve invested a lot of time already and you don’t want to keep them longer than you have to. That said, there are some things you should think about. Scheduling the appointment properly so they don’t have to wait is the first step you can take and it won’t cost a cent.

As the salesperson, you likely won’t see the clients for a few years. Your dealership partners, however, will see them far more often. Clients like to know there’s a team behind you and taking the time to introduce everyone is a great way to show solidarity and extend the rapport you’ve taken so long to build. This is especially true for your service team. Offering a free oil change or two can help that transition as well.


Follow up

The customer experience isn’t just about the sale’s process; it’s everything they experience in the dealership, and even in the days and weeks afterwards. You’d be surprised how powerful a follow-up phone call can be. In fact, making a habit of calling them to see if there is anything else you or your team can do is a great way to stay top of mind. 

A second follow up by a third party or automated system to gauge their experience will give you great feedback for any changes you need to make. Some companies are so focused on customer service that when they do their follow up surveys, anything less than excellent is considered a failure. That’s right— if you don’t wow the clients every time, you haven’t achieved your goal. While extreme, it does embrace the proper sentiments.

A commitment to customer service excellence doesn’t necessarily cost money.

What does a coffee cost compared to the SUV? Would a free oil change break the bank when selling a luxury car? You can’t go wrong with putting the customer first. It’s an invisible investment that will always pay dividends.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Jason Harris


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