The Significance of Customer Service in Automotive Dealerships

Gleaming showroom floors and shiny vehicles are not enough to influence sales and customer retention at a dealership. Many factors contribute to success, and among them is the delivery of exceptional customer service. The quality of service provided to vehicle buyers can make or break a dealership’s reputation and bottom line.

Automotive dealerships are highly competitive, and shoppers have access to an abundance of options when it comes to vehicle purchasing, service, and protection. Making sure that customers feel like they are the priority creates many long-term benefits for dealerships. Here are examples of the benefits of a commitment to excellent customer service, as well as tips to boost client satisfaction.

Dealership Reputation Management

Customers today rely heavily on online searches and reviews when selecting a dealership for service. A survey by Digital Air Strike found that 67% of vehicle purchase customers said they select a dealer for service based solely on online searches and reviews. Furthermore, 87% of service customers consider online reviews instrumental in their dealer selection. Word-of-mouth also carries significant weight; over 52% of vehicle buyers base their dealership choices on recommendations from family and friends.

The quality of customer service at a dealership is a reflection on the brand and name of the dealership. It is a tangible representation of a commitment to customer satisfaction and the overall customer experience. Positive interactions, timely responses, and genuine care for customers build loyalty and boost a dealership’s reputation for repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. Conversely, poor customer service can tarnish a brand, leading to lost opportunities and a damaged reputation that may be challenging to recover from in a competitive market.

Ensuring outstanding customer service will help dealerships secure positive word-of-mouth and online recommendations, which, in turn, drives business growth.

Enhancing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer Lifetime Value measures the revenue a dealership can expect from a single customer. Dealerships must invest in making sure every department has customer service as their priority. A strong focus on customer service will influence customers to keep returning and will grow CLV. As an example, customers who have consistently positive experiences with a dealership’s service department are likely to return for future purchases and maintenance, thereby increasing their CLV. These customers are also more likely to return to purchase their next vehicle at the store.

Satisfied customers are also more inclined to recommend the dealership to others, which expands a dealership’s customer base. Providing exceptional customer service is imperative for dealerships that want to maximize long-term revenue with every customer relationship. This can be anything from second vehicle purchases and trade-ins to service appointments, post-sale marketing, and upsell opportunities.

Easy Ways to Elevate Customer Service

Customers show loyalty to dealerships who help them fix issues, overcome obstacles, and even help to prevent costly repairs. Here are some straightforward strategies that dealerships can implement to improve customer service.

  1. Streamline Client Communication:
    Ensure that customers can easily reach the dealership online and in-person. Maintain a website with easy to find contact information, offer online chat support, and provide a dedicated phone line for customer inquiries. Easy accessibility and responsiveness will make a first interaction with a dealership pleasant.
  2. Promote a Customer-First Culture:
    Encourage a customer-centric mindset within a dealership by educating staff, gathering feedback, and prioritizing customer needs. This approach ensures long-term success in an industry driven by customer satisfaction and referrals, creates lasting relationships, and subsequently enhances dealership reputation.
  3. Offer Concierge-like Experience:
    Assign dedicated teams to provide personalized service throughout the entire vehicle-buying and service process. Catering to individual needs, preferences, and inquiries makes customers feel valued, and they will likely become long-term clients.
  4. Value Customer Time:
    Minimize delays with upfront information, online booking systems, and streamlined paperwork processes for a swift check-in experience upon arrival. Saving and respecting a customer’s precious time demonstrates a commitment to their convenience and promotes overall satisfaction.
  5. Invest in Employee Training:
    Continuous training and development ensure well-informed, confident, and motivated staff are there to give customers the best experience possible. Have a team that can resolve multiple buyer pain points with professionalism and empathy to further boost customer satisfaction while contributing to overall dealership success.
  6. Fix Problems Before They Start
    When a customer buys a vehicle, at a certain point that vehicle will be outside of factory warranty coverage and may have a mechanical issue. Customers do not like going in for service and walking out with a large, unexpected bill. Dealerships can bypass this issue by marketing vehicle service contracts to their customers. 65% of customers don’t purchase a VSC at the time of a vehicle sale, so continuing education about this coverage is important.

Providing customers with superior service influences their choices, shapes their perception of the dealership, and builds loyalty and retention. The longer a dealership keeps customers satisfied with service and engaged, it’s more likely they will continue to frequent the dealership.

The Power of Post-Sale Marketing

Post-sale marketing helps dealerships build lasting relationships with their customers and enhance the business’ reputation and brand throughout the community. Learning how to effectively use post-sale marketing leads not only to better customer relationships, but other benefits such as increased revenue, higher reinsurance reserves, and more vehicle sales.

At Automotive Product Consultants, we offer post-sale vehicle service contract marketing programs at no-cost to dealers. These programs market to dealership customers and educate them about the benefits of buying additional coverage from the dealership.

We encourage dealers and agents to contact us to learn how Automotive Product Consultants can power a post-sale vehicle service contract marketing program that will drive sales and revenue for your dealership. Reach out to us today for a free program demo.

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At Automotive Product Consultants we always emphasize the power of increasing revenue beyond vehicle sales. There are many overlooked revenue opportunities in dealerships, but taking the time to realize them is a great way to transform the bottom line. These are four methods that owners and general managers of dealerships can use to increase revenue.