Dealer Principals from around Australia keep asking me the same question. That question is this – “How do we add value and keep gross with today’s ultra informed customer?”
In this edition I am going to address this important point for you.
The biggest challenge dealerships have faced in recent years is the advancement of the internet. These days we all carry a very powerful computer around in our pockets. This has led to a new breed of customer, who I like to call Customer 2.0.
The question is does Customer 2.0 need a dealer at all? Is Customer 2.0 happy to research, email and buy by pressing the ‘add to cart’ button? With an ever increasing online culture are dealers getting squeezed by more informed, more savvy customers who have researched the ‘best’ price and know the specifications and model lines before they set foot in a car or a dealership?
The good news is YES the customer still needs you!
We are going to look at why this is so and also how to engage Customer 2.0. We will also put forward strategies to empower dealerships like yours and deliver strategies to give sales people back the control.
So who is Customer 2.0?
Lets look at a few characteristics.
- Customer 2.0 Loves posting his or her meals on social media
- We have to know they smashed it at the gym or it does’t count.
- They spend more time online than they do watching TV.
- They prefer emails and text messages to phone calls.
- Customer 2.0 doesn’t trust traditional marketing or advertising and seeks out user reviews.
- They expect you have a significant online presence.
- With small attention spans websites better be quick, there is no patience for lag.
- Expects higher level of customer experience
The good news is the majority of Customer 2.0’s will still purchase by visiting a dealership. Why is that? Could it be for all the web based information they still want a good human experience when purchasing a big ticket item? Or does it mean that they still want to see, hear and feel the product. Or it might be as simple as they want to trade their car in.
Customer 2.0: It could any one of these points, it doesn’t matter which. Just know that either way it still gives your sales people an opportunity to engage them and influence their decision whist getting them emotional about the car.
Website: Customer 2.0’s first contact with your dealership will be via your online presence.Your website must be spot on and that means it looks good and is running efficiently. As I mentioned before, Customer 2.0 will not wait long for a page to load. Maybe you experienced this yourself and thought forget it and moved on to the next website. I know I have!
Social media: Customer 2.0 uses many different social media sites and this plays a big part in his or her decision making process. Having a strong presence on social media sites is an important tool. Especially for this new breed of customer
Embrace your negative comments: This may sound strange but embrace your negative comments, both on and offline. Realise that every company has them but how you respond to these comments can say more about your company than the negative comment itself. Customer 2.0 will trawl the internet for user reviews about your products and business. The simple truth is this, if a company has comments that are all from 100% satisfied customers, nobody would believe it. Customer 2.0 would be skeptical and could form a negative opinion of your company being deceitful.
Right to reply: The solution to bad reviews, is your right to reply. If you can reply in a calm helpful manner by asking the customer to contact you personally so you can get to the bottom of their problem and is a very powerful signal that you take people and their problems seriously.
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