Car retailers are constantly looking at ways of improving the service they provide to their customers but also the perception of how people view the motor trade in general. The old adage is that if you have a good experience you may tell a few people, but if you have a bad one you tell everyone and with the growth of social networks it is perhaps more relevant today than at any time in recent years.
The car business has taken major strides in improving its image over the last decade and, if anything, these days car buyers can be almost smothered in love, such is the obsession in not only delivering a great service but almost more importantly being seen to deliver great service. Car dealers will often incentivise staff to ensure that it’s not just about selling the car that is important but doing everything possible to ensure that customers have a great experience and return to the business in future.
In short car dealers are recognising the importance of customer retention and loyalty and are prepared to meet the short term demands in favour of long term business. In the way that many retailers have built a following based on absolute customer centricity car dealers, especially those with franchised brands above the door, are starting to see the benefits of the John Lewis model. They understand the importance of employing the correct blend of engaged staff and giving customers “what they want” in the quest for repeat business which, in turn is more profitable once that loyalty has been earned and established.
People will often look at the benefits and features of a particular car purchase in much the same way that a consumer does when buying electrical or white goods from John Lewis and the simple answer is; peace of mind. It is very re-assuring for us to know that if we have a problem with something we have purchased it will be resolved in a matter of minutes without embarrassment or confrontation, the goods are replaced and the customer is happy with the outcome.
The problem in general is that even though we are often thought of as being a nation of moaners the reality is we might moan our socks off in private but not many of us genuinely like to cause a public scene or have a difficult conversation with staff over problems with goods. Most of us will just walk away and never come back leaving the retailer to believe that they have either resolved the problem or won the battle, when in reality neither has been achieved.
In our quest for fairness we always tend to look at the exception rather than the rule and wrongly believe that every claim or grievance about a product or service is a frivolous one, when in reality, as John Lewis and others prove, genuine customers will really appreciate that high level of service and come back in their droves and perhaps, more importantly, be the best form of advertising that business ever gets.
The car business is certainly, in my opinion, heading that way and although there will be many reading this who believe they are a long way off or fellow car people who believe we do far too much already it really has to be the case that most customers genuinely don’t have the time or the inclination to be professional ruckers.
The bottom line is car dealers really do want repeat business and to have only happy customers come visit their showroom and buy their cars, although I don’t think any of us could put a time frame when that might become a genuine reality.
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