What information does a customer need when they bring their car in for a service, an MOT, or a repair? Back in the day, all they needed was the information on the work you did, and the invoice. But these days, customers are expecting rather more.
Research conducted by Autino in 2020 has revealed that customers at dealerships are expecting more and more from the dealership in terms of customer service. We’ve talked in another blog about how 84% of service advisors say that customers are now expecting a near-immediate response to their queries.
Our research, however, threw up some other interesting insights into what customers value when coming to the dealership – and what dealerships think their customers value.
A mismatch of priorities?
We asked dealerships to rank the importance of various attributes on a scale of 1 to 10; we also asked customers to rate those same attributes on the same scale. Of particular interest was the attribute: “customers would like more access to their service history, future bookings, and vehicle details.” The average score our dealerships gave this attribute was 6.68/10 – one of the lowest priorities of all the things we asked them.
Customers? They rate it at nearly 8 out of 10. And 33% of them rated it as 10/10 for importance.
Plainly, there’s a disconnect here between what dealerships perceive as important to their customers, and what customers see as important to them.
"Dealerships that can find a way to meet this customer need are likely to create happier and more loyal customers than those who continue to keep it as a low priority."
What's going on?
In many ways, the desire of customers to have access to more information about their car makes a lot of sense. Consumers are able to access information on almost every facet of their lives. We have apps that track our productivity at work, the steps we take, even our sleep. And those apps all show us historical trends. It’s only natural that customers of dealerships would want the same level of insight into their car’s history.
It’s not clear why dealerships have this blind spot when it comes to understanding their customers – our survey revealed that dealerships have their finger pretty firmly on the pulse of what their customers are looking for. Whatever the reason, though, dealerships that can find a way to meet this customer need are likely to create happier and more loyal customers than those who continue to keep it as a low priority.
Is DMS enough?
The good news is that most dealerships will have all this information stored in their DMS. The challenge is: how do you give that information to your customers? Given the rise in digital tools (and current limitations on in-person meetings) the old standby of printing things out and handing them to the customer may not be enough. In fact, 72% of consumers we spoke to said they wanted to communicate online with their dealership.
Unfortunately, it looks like many dealerships don’t find their DMS a useful tool for communications. When asked to rate the validity of the statement “my dealership management system provides effective communication tools,” the average rating for dealerships was only 6.6/10. Worse still, nearly 1 in 5 rated theirs below 5/10.
Time to explore other solutions?
If your DMS isn’t the right tool for giving information to your customers, it might be time to let your DMS focus on its core functions and consider other alternatives for communications. Email is a possible solution – and one that everyone already knows how to use. Whether or not your customers want email communications, in the age of instant messaging, is another matter. Instant messaging apps have potential, too - but finding on that you can add your brand to, and so give it the premium feel your customers expect, can be a challenge.
Whatever the solution, it’s plain that dealers need to find one – and fast.
Providing customers with a digital experience that empowers them with information is just one part of providing a premium experience that keeps customers coming back for more. Download our whitepaper, The Psychology Behind Buying Premium, to learn how customer-centric systems and offerings can make you stand out from the competition.