Car dealers who go the extra mile

When the dust settles and customers flood back to buy the latest incarnations of the next generation of cars, who will be left to sell them and will people have the confidence to visit them?
If the industry as a whole is not careful customers of the not too distant future will be buying exclusively on-line and “virtual” showrooms will be the norm. Out of the current chaos car dealers and repairers need to wake up and smell the coffee, with more and more people doing their best to avoid showrooms and buying cars purely on price it is high time dealers work extra hard to build some added value into a great service, and give customers a feeling that they are not just a cash cow. It’s funny how, eventually bad service or a perception of non-transparency brings the chickens home to roost, and maybe once the deadwood has been discarded we will be left with companies both franchised and independents who will actually be able to say ‘we care about our customers’.

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2 Responses to Car dealers who go the extra mile

  1. Auto Buying Services November 11, 2008 at 4:52 pm #


    It’s high time the dealers realize the importance of service along with sales.


  2. Jeremy Sargeant November 12, 2008 at 5:35 pm #

    Let’s not forget that dealers spend huge amounts on customer care and retention. Franchise operations work to high standards set by manufacturers as well as their own company targets. I remember a senior director of a large independant dealer group saying he was working one Sunday cleaning the ramps in his workshop ready for an inspection on Monday by Skoda to get the go ahead to open his latest franchise. The problem, if there is one, must lie with staff. Sales people have targets to meet – they must sell. I don’t think you would hear a sales manager say – “Oh yes, Johnny doesn’t sell much, but the customers like him, so we will keep him on the payroll.” That creates a conflict with trust and best advice. My local Ford dealer actually called me to tell me a car they were fixing under warranty was ready for me. I was very surprised they bothered to call, but why was it so unusual? How are large dealers supposed to balance high overheads, low margins, a shrinking marketplace and provide exemlorary customer service at the same time? My business is small, so I have to care. Every customer counts and perhaps now times are not so good, larger groups will recognise that, at all levels in the business, they need to spend more time on the “customer experience.”

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