Everyone in the automotive industry is familiar with Tesla’s entry into the automotive retail business, however, not as many realize that they’re simultaneously spotlighting innovative functionalities that any manufacturer could use to make automotive service easier and more convenient for the consumer. ..
I write a lot about customer experience, service and retention. With our hyper-competitive industry demanding greater transparency, it will continue to become more important. In a recent article, “Why Differentiation Should Be Your Only Goal,” I discussed why differentiating yourself from your competitors, and providing a unique experience is essential to future business success. Sometimes, however, customers can be unhappy no matter how hard you try to make them happy. ..
As the holidays quickly approach, many companies are giving back to their customers. Through toy drives, volunteering at local charities or fund-raising, businesses across the nation are pooling their resources to help the needy. Some businesses, however, have chosen to direct their resources to the people that help them remain successful: their customers. And it’s paying dividends. ..
The battle for customers in the automotive industry is hyper-competitive. Dealers advertise low price loss leaders and court an Internet buyer with competitive pricing that sometimes results in negative gross deals. Service departments advertise low priced oil changes to both upsell and win a new customer. Dealers send mailers, direct mail, use traditional and digital marketing; all to try and persuade a potential customer to choose them. Many companies, however, don’t take advantage of a free method with which to gain customers – social media. ..
In the B2B world, we’re seeing a shift in importance and shopping behaviors by business buyers. What’s interesting is that business buyers are starting to behave more like consumers when making business purchase decisions. A global survey from November 2013 by Avanade reports that businesses are not only recognizing the importance of the customer experience for their customers, but for themselves as well. Everyone is a consumer. While you may not be buying products or services for your personal use, if you’re buying anything, you’re still a consumer. Businesses that are embracing technology to help create a better consumer experience are reaping great rewards. ..
Most dealerships understand the importance of online reviews, in general, for their stores. Consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet to research dealerships before selecting one. This includes researching not only sales-related reviews, but also service. Yet, most dealerships focus most of their attention on gaining reviews from the sales side and leave the service department to fend for itself. I’m not saying that dealerships don’t care about how their customers feel when they leave the service department; but simply that there is typically no proactive process or campaign in place to solicit reviews from service. In most cases dealerships get their service department “report card” from OEM surveys and are content to leave it at that. ..
As I’m sure you’ve heard, Blockbuster Video has gone out of business. DISH Network, which owns Blockbuster, officially announced last week that they would be closing all 300 U.S. Stores. There was a time when local video stores were the dominant retail outlets to rent movies from. Then along came the mega-video stores like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster, which slowly but surely forced many mom and pop video stores to close their doors. Then Netflix, RedBox and streaming videos came along. These services had less overhead, were less expensive for consumers and more convenient. Not considering Blockbuster’s subscription program that was similar to Netflix, a rental of a new release cost approximately $5 while the same movie rented from RedBox cost $.99. That’s a significant difference for a consumer and, with over 42,000 kiosks nationwide there were many locations for consumers to patronize. ..
In July, I wrote an article that was published in Dealer magazine titled “Beam Me Up! How Service May Look In The Future.” In that article, I discussed how the trend of increasing transparency for consumers would inevitably extend to automotive service. Well, my friends, that day has come. ..
When dealerships first started publishing web pages, I remember that many felt that it was not very important. However, as many other dealers were doing it, they felt that they needed to as well. At first they were static, very basic websites, with very little information. Along came the ability to dynamically add inventory updated in real-time. At this point, most dealers that had their inventory listed with stock photos and descriptions. As the internet kept generating more business, dealerships recognized the value of listing their vehicles with actual pictures of the vehicles and custom comments. They started either taking the pictures themselves or hiring a service to do it. ..
In my sessions at conferences, I discuss the importance of measuring and holding employees accountable. Doing this consistently allows you to identify your top performers, check for consistency across areas of responsibility and identify employees and/or processes that may need improvement. ..