Intuitively speaking, customer satisfaction and customer experience are the drivers of increased profitability at your dealership. Just think of it: if your customers are happy, they will bring you more business.
In most cases, this is a fact, and car dealers often report to see the connection between the two parameters and the successful outcome. However, profitability analysis research has shown that this need not always be the case so some authors argue that the effect on profits can even be negative in some cases.
Stian Daazenko introduces the term ‘share of wallet’ or ‘wallet share’:
“The share of wallet is defined as the amount of a customer’s total spending in a given product or service category that is captured by your company. But to be able to increase the share of wallet we need to know that the customer has more money to spend. This is where the link to customer satisfaction and experience comes in.
“If we focus on improving the experience for customers that already spend all their available funds at our company, they might be happier, but not more profitable (of course we need to work with retention, but that is a different story). And even worse; what if we at the same time make other customers less happy, and they end up spending less money? This is exactly what happened to the American retail giant Walmart back in 2008 when they ended up losing market shares and revenues despite investing heavily to improve customer satisfaction.”
So, how to avoid losing the wallet share?
By doing customer satisfaction damn right! We can help.
The secret to better CSI scores
If you aim for profitability, make those CSI scores go sky high. However, today’s dealerships, both big and small, may struggle with saving every penny, so here is what you can do to satisfy your customers without having to invest a small fortune.
1. Meaningful conversations
At car dealerships, everything starts with a talk. A customer comes into your dealership and says ‘I want a car’ or ‘I need a repair.’ Your next move is crucial. If your customer representative or mechanic does his or her job right and on time, but the customer goes home unhappy and gives you a low CSI score, it is clear that something went wrong. By tracing a few steps backward, you may discover that there was a communication breakdown.
They say that talk is cheap, but not in the auto industry. The moment your customer steps on your lot, talk is all you must do – to persuade or to impress. Therefore, educating your staff to be better salespeople will increase not only sales but also general customer satisfaction. And word of mouth is all you need to keep improving your profits and CSI scores.
2. Make communication faster
Respect thy customer’s time. This should be your dealership motto.
If the customer needs their repaired car in only one day, but there are important decisions that need to be made you need to do something to speed things up. If there is a traffic jam or your customer is at an important meeting, they will not be able to pick up the phone. God forbid you to send an email or get the answering machine or voice mail. These options are simply out of the question.
The most logical solution is to communicate faster via SMS. Texting is the only platform you can be sure your customers will open and respond to within moments. Texts do not disturb anyone and have a 90% open-rate. Not only are they useful, but also allow for sending multimedia content, such as images and videos. Showing and quickly explaining to your customer what needs to be done will lead to faster approval time and the job is done. And your customers will appreciate that.
3. Be nice
A smile can open a thousand doors: it is stronger than every sword and can melt every icy heart. Having happy employees is as important as welcoming your customers with s smile. First, treat your staff with respect and provide good working conditions. Next, be nice and always say Hello, Thank you, Goodbye and show signs of gratitude and humility as much as you can.
Be at your customers’ disposal but do not be too pushy. Find the most suitable tactic and differentiate your dealership from your competitors with friendly service.
4. Use modern surveys
Modern technology for the modern age. If your dealership is still not ‘smart,’ then it ought to become as soon as possible. To make sure that your customers do the surveys while they are still under the proper impression, do not let them slip away by sending them emails. Emails usually get stuck in Spam folders or other folders which never get read.
Instead, set up tablets and smart kiosks at points of sale – so your customers do not miss filling out the survey. Tablets today are not that expensive and having a couple of them in the waiting room or at the exit routes can only bring meaningful feedback and constructive criticism.