A recent article on Science20.com, explains how customers will be less focused on price and will emphasize the customer service experience when the economy is going well. However, when the economy softens, price becomes the motivating factor and the experience matters less. This makes sense – when times are better the customer is willing to spend more on purchasing a vehicle; or take their vehicle in for some long overdue service work. Whereas when times get tough, people naturally get thriftier with their spending. The article states that it would be wise to concentrate on making the experience of purchasing or servicing a vehicle the very best regardless if the economic times are good or bad. Not only will it yield greater revenue today, but also keep our customers returning, despite economic conditions.
As a general practice, focusing on the customer experience should be top of mind every day; from greeting each vehicle owner in a warm and friendly manner, to answering every call that comes in and providing quality assistance, to offering an inviting customer lounge area with conveniences like free coffee or Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, however, history has proven that when the economy is thriving and dealerships are experiencing tremendous growth, these simple business practices can be overlooked.
Today’s consumers are sharper, savvier and understand that their business matters. And because of these new inherited traits, they are more willing to walk away until they find a dealership that will meet their needs. As a rule of thumb, we need to embrace our customers regardless of how busy we might be today, because tomorrow could be a different story. In the age of “over-sharing” we need to be on our best behavior and earn our customer’s business every day.
When a customer feels value and appreciation in their sales or service experience, they will dig a little deeper in their pockets and pay a little bit more. Conversely, they will be less forgiving if the service hasn’t lived up to their expectations, and there is no hesitation to let the universe know of their experiences. And let’s not forget, when our consumers have more disposable income, they can be more selective with the brand and dealership they choose. Whether they are a new or long-time customer, they know they are building or expanding on a relationship with you and your employees. They command a positive and engaging experience; and if you deliver, they are loyal and will share their positive opinions with their family and friends, regardless of the economic climate.
We can get excited when business has been great at month end or during sales events. To the customer, however, it doesn’t matter what day they visit your store or by what means - whether in person, by phone, or when visit our website - the experience you provide could mean the difference in retaining them as a customer or letting them visit the car dealership down the street. After all, what really matters to most to them is to be acknowledged, appreciated, and given an honest and genuine experience. When the economy is strong, we must continue to offer the customer experience that created our loyal customers in the first place, as they are the same ones who will help us during downward trends.