With so many organizations bidding for business within the automotive industry, competition is enormously high. To successfully secure new clients while ensuring previous customers remain loyal, it is essential that a business delivers the whole package. After all, if you want clients to come back for more, the entire customer journey counts, not just the end result. Like everyone, the automotive industry has been hit hard by the ongoing global pandemic, which means businesses are currently trying to comeback after such a damaging year. With that in mind, providing an excellent customer experience is more important than ever at the moment and there is no room for complacency.
So, how can businesses in the automotive industry improve customer reputation? What really makes excellent customer service? What will stop you from losing out on custom to your biggest competitors? How can you deliver an outstanding customer journey, immediately from the moment a client gets in contact with you?
The buyer’s journey
Before you start exploring techniques to improve overall customer satisfaction, it’s important that you look at the buyer’s journey. The buyer’s journey can be broken down into three easy-to-understand stages: awareness, consideration and decision.
Let’s begin with ‘awareness’. Simply put, this is the part where the customer acknowledges that they have a problem, and they need support. This could be anything from them deciding they need a new car, to them recognizing the need for repair work on a current vehicle.
Naturally, after a customer identifies the need for a service, they will look for a solution. It’s at the ‘consideration’ stage where they tend to weigh-up whether it would be more cost and time effective for them to provide the solution themselves, rather than give their custom to a business.
Third up is the ‘decision’ stage. Having determined which solution is best, the customer will now decide which business to use, which of course, ideally will be yours.
At this point, you might be asking, why look at the buyer’s journey when we’re trying to improve customer satisfaction? Well, to create and ensure excellent customer service, it is vital that your business is delivering its full potential throughout each of the above stages. The better the customer service throughout each stage of the ‘customer journey’ the higher the chance that the decision-making stage will result in the customer choosing your business.
Prioritize the customer
Customers want to be nurtured, looked after and made to feel like your priority. While it might seem irrational, no customer wants to feel like they’re simply just another dollar sign to a business. Change this by considering a change to your business mission and instead of always thinking about the hard sell, instead aim to ‘provide a solution’ for each of your customers. Try advising customers, rather than pushing them towards a particular product or service. Become an advisor, rather than a salesman.
While this might seem unnatural at first because the main goal is always to sell your product or service, try to remember the more you nurture that relationship with the customer and build their trust, the better the chances are of them coming to you for a solution at the end.
This speaks for itself: never, ever mislead a customer. This could not only significantly reduce the chances of you getting that specific business, but it could prove detrimental to your reputation in the future.
Despite us living in a digital age, it goes without saying that one of the most effective marketing techniques continues to be word of mouth. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people will always be saying good things about your business. People will talk and if you provide incorrect information, or promise unrealistic results, this could totally backfire and it’s definitely not worth the risk.
A top tip from us is be 100 percent truthful at all times, even if that means you not getting that specific job. The customer will value your honesty and will be more likely to return to you for future work.
When it comes to trust, it takes more than just a smile – although that always helps, of course.
Let’s face it, whether customers are in need of repair work, or are looking to buy a new car, many services within the automotive industry come with a hefty price tag, so it’s understandable that they might come in with their guard up. Today’s car shopper needs a customer experience that is both fast and transparent. So creating a trusting environment can be instrumental in improving dealership reputation.
Don’t let customers just take your word for it, prove to them that they can trust your business by showing them testimonials and reviews from other clients. Incorporate comments, reviews and testimonials into your marketing platforms, like on your website or via digital screens in your show room. This way, the customer will feel reassured, rather than overwhelmed.
A huge part of building trust with a customer is remembering to always speak their language. It’s important not to confuse ‘speaking the customer’s language’ with ‘to become patronizing’. Remember that not everybody who walks through your door will be a car expert or have as much knowledge of the automotive industry as you. Learn to recognize when a customer needs phrases or complex terms broken down, to ensure they feel supported and educated, rather than confused and overwhelmed.
Equally, make sure your staff are trained to answer questions from customers. If a customer comes in, looking for answers, they will expect to get it from the professionals. If staff can’t answer a customer’s questions, it could result in the customer losing respect for your business, which could ultimately lead to you losing the job.
Create professional multi-channel marketing touchpoints
It’s no secret that in this day and age, marketing your business needs to be more than simply advertising on a billboard. The world has gone digital, which means there are a huge range of accessible touchpoints out there for your customers to experience. From your website, to social media, make sure each of your marketing platforms looks professional and sleek, while serving its purpose.
Of course, this doesn’t mean forget about traditional marketing techniques, like flyers. Create a marketing strategy to decide how to best reach your customers. Once you have done this, encourage your customers to feel connected with your brand by making sure each of your marketing platforms work seemingly together. Regardless of whether they are digital or traditional techniques, they should all feel like they are advertising the same business.
Upgrade your digital channels
Now, more than ever, it is vital for businesses to ensure they are providing a premium digital experience for their customers. Having spent the past 12 months facing a global pandemic, businesses across the world have been forced to adapt their marketing technique to suit the digital customer. It is now easier than ever for car shoppers to search for businesses at just the touch of a button.
Utilize features to make the online process as seamless as possible for customers. This could include giving them the ability to book an appointment or service through your website, providing an online shop or giving them access to a virtual customer assistant. Your digital platforms should be customer-friendly, easy to use and have the same look as all of your other marketing materials, so users can recognize and familiarize themselves with your brand.
Ideally, you want to give customers access to your business without them actually needing to step foot out of the house by creating a virtual shopping experience via your digital platforms. The SnapCell app, for example, has been created specifically with the automotive industry in mind and gives clients access to a range of features, to help businesses engage with their customers virtually. Take their live video chat, which enables businesses to have real time conversations with the customer. Or how about their walk around video feature, which allows businesses to deliver a virtual viewing of their product or service, which lends itself perfectly to both traders wanted to sell their vehicles online, as well as customers looking at buying digitally. It makes sense to most of already-made tools out there which make creating a first-class digital customer experience easier than ever.
Streamline the process
Quite often, especially in the automotive industry, customers find themselves talking to multiple people along their buying journey. This can be time consuming and quite often, off-putting. As a business, become customer-focused by making it your mission to reduce the amount of people they deal with. In turn, this will also lower the time it takes to sell your product or service, giving your business another tick in the box when it comes to customer satisfaction.
There are so many ways to enhance the customer experience within the automotive industry, it can sometimes feel overwhelming as to where to start, right? If you’re a dealer or tradesman in the automotive industry looking to improve your customer service, with forward-thinking technologies and marketing strategies, then arrange a SnapCell demo today. SnapCell is the leading automotive video tool, helping dealers to build rapport and trust, while maximizing sales.