What is the customer process like at your dealership? Is it what you want it to be? More importantly, is it what your customers want it to be? Customers do not have the same emotional attachment to your store, your brand, or many of the other things you feel are important. To start thinking like a consumer, ask yourself this question:
What do my guests think of my sales and ownership experience?
Forget about your survey scores; instead, find out how your guests FEEL. Was it a truly exceptional experience? Will they recommend your dealership to their friends and family members? Remember, you are in the business every day, so you see your processes through your own rose-colored glasses. Instead, take a moment to look at your sales process from the customer’s point of view and create a memorable experience. Don’t do it for the survey results; do it for your dealership’s future success.
Processes, processes, processes …
The retail climate has changed dramatically over the last 10 years. Dealers are challenged by small margins and extreme pressure from the factory to gain market share. Most have developed processes that are focused on max profit and max opportunity. The problem is, it’s not about you; and it’s not about the factory. Successful dealers of the future will be those who create a customer-driven process. But what kind of process does the customer want? The Golden Rule is to treat people the way you want to be treated. The reality is, you need to treat your customers the way THEY want to be treated. So how do you do that?
Maybe we should not put the customer first—instead, put your employees first! It doesn’t matter how great your processes are if you don’t have the team to execute them. It also doesn’t matter how well your team executes the processes if they don’t have “it.” “It” = the ability to connect with customers and make their experience remarkable. It doesn’t matter how good you are at closing, or how many ROs you write in a day. What matters is your ability to engage with customers and provide them with the best experience they’ve ever had. Your goal should be to become the customers FAVORITE car dealership. Forget about trying to be the cheapest or the fanciest. Be the place where people WANT to buy and service their vehicles.
There is a common theme among successful, growing dealerships. Whether it’s an improvement in dealership metrics or an excellent dealership review, the most improved dealerships with the highest growth rate have the best PEOPLE. Until you build an exceptional employee experience, you cannot create the best customer experience. The next time you hire or promote, make sure the new hire has “it.” And by the way, “it” starts at the top.
Learn more from George and the other NCM moderators, consultants, and instructors through in-dealership consulting, participation in a 20 Group, or by registering for a course in the NCM Institute. Our goal is to help you succeed every day; give us a call at 800-756-2620 to get started.