4 Ways Car Dealers Can Improve the Customer Experience

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Getting a new vehicle is more than taking in the new car smell and experiencing fun technology. It often requires going to a car dealership, working with a salesperson, and ironing out the finances. Ultimately, the satisfaction of driving a new car off the lot is worth it. However, the experience at the dealership can leave much to be desired.

As a dealer, it’s your responsibility to improve the buyer’s experience. If you’re struggling to do that, you’re in the right place. Here are a few ways you can improve the car buying process to make it more enjoyable for customers.

1. Be Upfront with Financing

Buying or leasing a car is a big financial decision. And because the vast majority of people don’t walk into a dealership prepared to pay cash, financing is a hot topic. Not to mention, the money component is a source of confusion for many customers that can derail the buying experience altogether.

Dealers should train their employees, from salespeople to finance and insurance workers, on how to answer financial questions. Because customers’ financial knowledge ranges, it’s key to train your team on a variety of topics. Some training topics to include could be:

Loan Applications:

When financing a vehicle, customers are borrowing money to make the purchase. Of course, banks and other lenders will want to perform a verification of income before agreeing to lend the funds. However, this can be a confusing concept for customers. You want to do your best to explain these processes in an easy–to-understand way because understanding can help put customers at ease.

Credit:

As with most large financial investments, buying or leasing a car requires a credit check. Cover the impact of credit scores on things like interest rates, and share tools for further understanding before they sign their deal. If a buyer’s credit score is low and they aren’t approved, you could discuss steps to take to see improvement.

Monthly payments:

Some customers will walk with confidence about what they would like to spend on a car payment each month. While this is helpful information and can guide which vehicles they should look at, a monthly payment may not tell the full financial story. Remind them of insurance and gas costs, for example, to ensure they’ve accounted for the full cost of the car. This may make them rethink their budget or find a way to make their dream car work.

Encouraging employees to understand and share these key points of financial information can make the car-buying experience easier. As a result, you’ll have customers who feel more understood, which creates a more positive shopping environment.

2. Have Resources Available

On top of employee training, customers can benefit from access to having information themselves. This is especially true because some people feel insecure about their lack of car-buying knowledge. Whether the difference between trim levels is unclear or the finances cause confusion, there’s a lot to decipher.

Dealers can mitigate these stressors by providing resources like pamphlets or videos online. Cover topics that are most confusing for customers, including financing, basic mechanics of vehicles, and warranties. Even diving into specifics on trim levels for the dealership’s most popular models can be helpful.

The goal is to reduce the confusion, frustration, and anxiety a customer might feel and empower them with knowledge. When customers are informed and confident during a big financial decision, they’re likely to repeat business.

3. Focus on Human Interactions

One of the biggest critiques of car dealerships are pushy salespeople. Customers don’t necessarily want to make big financial decisions quickly, so being pushy won’t get you far. While selling cars is a business, a main part of the problem is how transactional the experience can feel.

Customers are people looking to buy a car to better their future. That could include driving their pets or kids around, taking road trips, or just running errands. Regardless, the decision has an impact on their day-to-day life. And framing the car-buying experience as an impactful lifestyle decision is a great way to leave a positive impression.

Salespeople at dealerships should also take time to sit down with customers and fully understand their goals. Do they want reliability and great gas mileage or is the most updated technology and trendy features more their speed? While some customers will walk in knowing exactly what they want, some will need guidance. For all customers, it’s important to hear them out, resolve any concerns, and help them drive off in a car they love.

Remember to smile, offer help whenever possible, and be patient as they decide what is the right fit for them and their lives. Be honest about things that aren’t known and offer to look into those to clarify before they leave. Also, keep them in the loop on any information they may need to know like maintenance available at the dealership or recalls.

4. Follow Up After the Purchase

While not expressly a dealership experience, people like to know they’re not forgotten once they step off the lot. After someone gets a vehicle from your dealership, go out of your way to give them a phone call, text, or email follow-up.

It doesn’t have to be super detailed either. Just a simple check-in to see how they’re liking the car and if they have any questions will do. This can help resolve any points of tension after their purchase — like not being able to figure out how certain technology works. Although it’s a small gesture, it goes a long way in solidifying quality service that leaves a good impression.

The car-buying experience can be an overwhelming and stress-inducing one that’s made more difficult when dealerships don’t prioritize customer experience. Focus on putting the customer first and being as friendly, open, and communicative as possible. It can make all the difference. And these adjustments can ultimately lead to more sales and happier, more loyal customers. Get more market updates and quality information here with us all day.