In our quest for a perfect world, we at MTI try and see the positives in everything. The reason we sometimes cannot take a definite stance is that we always know there are two sides to every story. We believe that this business is working harder than any other to clean up its act, becoming better at delighting customers and giving better value for money.
There is a lot of hard work being done to try and rid the motor trade of all the old stigmas of ‘rip off’ and ‘con man’ headlines. But judging by the 50,790 complaints related to used cars received by consumer direct last year there is obviously an awfully long way to go.
But we know how bad it was years ago because most of us were operating in the car industry in some capacity during the good, bad and definitely ugly times. We have all realised that to sustain a profitable business customers are and always will be the key.
Having witnessed some displays of bad practice and skulduggery along the way, sometimes a little closer than we would have perhaps liked, this probably gives us a unique insight into how car makers, their franchised dealers, the auctions and independent dealers have upped their game and attempted to give customers what they want. They have realised that continuous improvement will surely result in a better image for the motor trade and all associated with it.
We have also seen customers become more demanding. They have rightly had their expectations raised and as the choice has widened and the car buyer, as a result of the internet, has become empowered to decide for themselves what car they buy, how much they pay and what dealer they choose to give their business to.
Unfortunately as much as we like to think it, it may be quite some time before we reach the utopia arrivals hall. As we say in our vision statement we aim to be a link between the trade and the customer, we realise that buying a car is emotive, exciting and stressful but most importantly one of the major investments people will ever make and getting it wrong can have reverberations which can reach far and wide.
It is because we are passionate about the independence that car ownership brings and the extreme views buying and selling cars can generate, not to mention the sheer numbers of cars on our roads that this is a serious business. Most of us still have a distinct memory of when we were able to drive unaccompanied for the first time, the pure excitement of a major life landmark which keeps us interested in cars for life.
Why do we mention all these things? Because, believe it or not, there are still car dealers who despite their investment in people, training and process still employ people who are great at the selling and taking money bit, but absolutely terrible at the after delivery part of the process. In other words we have your money and now you are dead to us.
This sounds terribly disappointing and hopefully there are fewer instances of this nowadays, but from our research this is still virtually the number 1 complaint from today’s car buyer.
How embarrassing! We are great at selling you the car but don’t want to know you afterwards.
So there you have it, if we invest as much time telling car sales staff to put the same enthusiasm in keeping in touch and engaging with existing customers as they do in closing them in the first place, perhaps more buyers will come back and tell their friends how great the dealer is.
Despite the internet changing buying habits across the board, for the time being at least, people buy people and crystal clear communication and customer service will equal a more profitable motor trade with happier customers.
No it isn’t rocket science but, for some reason, it may as well be for all the difficulty some people have mastering it.
Subscribe to Motor Trade Insider by Email