A possible solution to the problem of the “intimidating” car showroom

Following on from our article yesterday (The car buying experience: from pressurised and over bearing to being completely ignored) on the fact that, despite the millions of pounds of investment poured into the franchised dealer “showroom experience” most people still find them intimidating places, we think we might have found a solution to the problem.

Whilst visiting one of Jamie Oliver’s new Italian establishments recently I simply entered the restaurant with 3 friends to have a meal, as you can’t book first apparently. What they do however is take down your name and give you a small device which vibrates in your hand when a table becomes available. It enabled us to visit some other local bars and come back exactly when our table was ready and we certainly enjoyed our evening (even if we didn’t end up eating until 10:30pm but that’s another story).

Anyway it got me thinking that a similar system existing within a car showroom might be adapted to allow potential car buyers to decide how much engagement they require and, more importantly, how quickly they wanted it.

Car buyers that just wanted to browse, have a bit of touching and feeling and information gathering, to return at a later date, could do so without necessarily having contact with a sales exec at this point if they do not require it. While for those who require immediate attention or want the assistance of a sales exec can push the button on their device and receive attention.

The device would be linked to a PC on the receptionist desk and when activated the next available sales exec would be alerted that the customer requires some interaction.

It may seem strange but I can’t really see any downsides. It would certainly upset a few sales managers to start with who need to measure footfall and capture customer data and maybe the old school guys would say that this gives customers the opportunity to leave with all the information which they can take elsewhere. However what it might just do is bring those people back who may not be at the stage when they are ready to start the actual buying process but as they have felt comfortable with the system would be far more likely to return knowing that they will not be jumped on by an overzealous sales exec.

Don’t expect an appearance with this idea on Dragons Den anytime soon however as a colleague has already sounded out one of the Dragon’s and was told “sorry I’m out” so it may need just a bit more work!

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