Just Don’t Screw It Up: The Key to Delivering a Great Customer Experience in 2022
I’ve written before about how Chick-fil-A’s reputation for delivering a great customer experience is not about solving issues, it’s about avoiding issues in the first place. Add in some manners, speed, and efficiency, and you’ve got Chick-fil-A’s secret recipe for wowing the lunch crowd.
During normal times that’s what any business needs to earn 5-star online reviews and raving fans. Of course, 2022 and the prior two years have been anything but normal. And since we’re not sure when we’ll either return to normal or settle on some new-new-new normal, let’s look at how car dealers (and other retailers) can create great customer experiences in the current environment – despite the ongoing supply chain issues.
No Need to Wow Them
While today’s customers are more demanding, they’re also experiencing poor service in so many places (due to the labor & other shortages) that when a retailer simply meets their expectations, they often feel like it was a 5-star experience.
Service is slow.
Choices are limited.
Lines are long.
Given the issues consumers face with seemingly every retail transaction, they’re pleasantly surprised when an experience simply goes off without a hitch: They find what they’re looking for and then get through the checkout process quickly and without hassles? That’s a 5-star experience in 2022!
To a dealership’s sales, service, and parts teams, this means you can create very good or even great customer experiences simply by not screwing “it” up. The “it” is whatever you personally deliver to/for the dealership’s customers.
Just Don’t Screw “It” Up
For the receptionist, this might simply mean transferring calls properly and staying on top of these transfers.
For the service advisor, this might mean setting customer expectations early and keeping them informed when supply chain issues change the estimated completion date.
For the salesperson, this might mean regularly touching base with customers waiting on factory orders and keeping them in the loop.
For the parts manager, this might simply mean responding to a customer’s voicemail. (Yes, something as easy as responding to a voicemail can make a positive difference to today’s consumer.)
It Doesn’t Take Much
If you’ve been keeping up with automotive industry studies, you know that KBB found 75% of new vehicle buyers last year said they were happy with the dealership experience. Buyers were more satisfied despite higher prices and fewer choices?!?! Why… how is that possible? Because the in-store buying process was more efficient. That is, buyers had to spend less time in the dealership.
It’s not that most dealerships intentionally shortened their in-store processes, it’s that we’ve always known “sticker is quicker” … and now customers are learning this as well. Pricing discipline, we’ve discovered, isn’t as hard as many managers thought and it creates better customer (and dealership) outcomes.
It’s the Little Things
Most bad customer experiences aren’t the result of major screw ups by the dealership, they’re the accumulation of a fewer minor inconveniences coupled with a belief that the person the customer is dealing with just doesn’t care. Of course, showing you care doesn’t take much.
Stay on top of calls you’ve transferred.
Update your customers on their vehicle repairs.
Keep your customers in the loop on their custom orders.
Respond to your voicemails.
Just don’t screw it up!
Certainly, it’s a fine line all retailers (especially dealers) are walking today. Make no mistakes, earn a 5-star review. Make just one mistake, and Karen will crush you online.
Automotive Sales Books by Steve Stauning: