With the latest technology and innovation in the automotive sector, we are witnessing a new age of automobile buyers and their preferences are changing with time too. Today the world of automobile is different than how it used to be before, consumers now look for more in a vehicle, it’s more about interiors, estimated brand value, overall customer services during and after they make the purchase, and most importantly they seek for constant reassurance, after-all making a decision to buy a car takes more than just efforts.
Today the consumers are far better informed than they used to be in the early decades, with digitalization taking over, reading online reviews, and making decisions based on thorough research is more common than ever. Automobiles are high-ticket items and a person looking to buy wants to get it just right, and with the new mindset and without product alone to be considered as the main differentiator, maintaining superior customer experience is the new king.
Did you know? Carvana came up with the idea of using an eight-story car vending machine dispenser. It dispenses purchased cars to customers, with the help of a special coin, they promise to offer a “novel pick-up” experience for cars purchased through websites.
There are absolutely no questions about Covid19 affecting the world of automotive, it shook the industry to its core. However, due to the pandemic, buying cars through digital platforms has become more popular and convenient than ever. Digital platforms offer a better and more personalized experience to their customers. Even though there have been positive outcomes seen in the online purchasing of automobiles, there still are a number of various factors to be explored in terms of consumer opinions and their concerns on a variety of issues affecting the automobile sector, including the advanced technologies and safety protocols of self-driving vehicles. Factors that affect the shift in consumer purchasing habits can be due to:
These factors are not just it, once we start going back to the new normal lifestyles, and once customers start physically going back to the automobile dealerships, their buying process gets hampered due to the primitive sales techniques and prolonged paperwork. The modern marketplace cannot depend on old-fashioned rigid approaches and needs serious improvements in order to maintain a sustainable customer journey.
According to a 2014 study by J.D. Power, automotive shoppers spent an average of 14 hours researching cars online — visiting dealership sites, reading reviews, making price comparisons, using online shopping tools — before making a purchase decision.
For most of the Americas, buying a car is the second most expensive thing they wish to own after a nice house and between online/offline researches and final negotiations, there are many other things to be considered, like loan costs, maintenance, and insurance, vehicle history reports, safety ratings, rebates, and financing programs. This doesn’t stop here, even after buying a vehicle they continue to interact with other customers and leave online reviews, talk about dealership services, and provide online answers to similar other queries.
The world of the automobile is evolving, with facts and data you can figure out what’s working out and what’s not. According to the Stockle analysis report “The automotive industry has recognized the sign of the time. Trying to avoid mistakes that have been made in other sectors. (Previously), sales funnels were attempted at the outset to fuel desire through emotional advertising, and the actual sales process began in the minds of the managers when the potential buyer arrived at the dealership. Now, the auto industry has recognized that it needs to build relationships with their customers beyond the average four-year upgrade cycle to the latest model and that they cannot leave this to the dealership. Customer experience and customer relationship management become a crucial factor in succeeding.”
Studies suggest and have in fact proven a point that today’s customer needs more, they just don’t buy a product because of its name, they need better customer relationship management channels, their preference is moving more towards omnichannel approaches and they want their voices to be heard and feedback to be taken in consideration more seriously. Automotive Management Online reported in March 2019 that Rockar claims to have generated 1.6 million store visits, 12,500 test drives, and 1.7 million digital journeys in five years.
Here mentioned below are 5 factors affecting customer experience:
1. Service Quality: Google Reviews from unhappy customers, late annual surveys, good things are done but not tracked to be used for strategy building activities, all these factors affect the service quality, and what can be the possibly worst way to understand your customers? it is to “guess”. With the world moving towards a more progressive and promising future, making business decisions on assumptions can’t be a good sign. Prioritizing customer feedback is a must, listening and analyzing their feedback can help you gain deep insights and it will help you improve customer experience.
2. Managing online reputation is more important than ever, as explained earlier, today’s customer is more active on social media platforms, they make their decisions based on the online reviews about where to buy a car and which dealership offers a better customer service.
3. Judgemental customer service: this is a more realistic factor nobody addresses, but we must all have experienced this when we visit a dealership, they serve a cold look and don’t generally entertain young buyers. Which goes on to affect the entire automobile sector since the millennials – who will represent more than 45 percent of the potential car-buying population by the year 2025 – are the driving force.
4. Ignoring customer signals: a true salesman can read through customer signals if your customer is not happy with the way you make your sales pitch or with deals you’re offering. If you fail to read through these signals, you might end up losing your customers.
5. Understanding first-time car buyer mindset: Understanding the anxiety of a first-time car buyer and offering services that help them make a decision, also providing flexibility in feature customers want to opt for, can boost positive customer experience. For example, Porsche launched its ‘Porsche Passport’ service back in late 2017. Customers pay a fixed fee per month in return for on-demand usage of up to 22 different cars. The idea here is that customers can enjoy greater flexibility, with the option to switch between different cars based on their needs or desires.
At Dropthought we believe that to build a sustainable relationship with a customer, we must value their feedback. We believe in building a situation-based and feedback-centric client engagement plan that will not only help automobile dealerships to leverage the data collected abundantly but also if done right this can turn into a long-lasting opportunity to keep your customers intact. Your customers can express their opinions through the surveys and provide suggestions about your relationship management team, and you can manage experience across customer journeys. By doing this you are better able to retain your current customers and identify key customer experiences.
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