The new data protection regulation is just around the corner so everyone’s asking the question “Are you ready?”. Despite being quite ominous, the question is an important one. Dealerships hold a lot of data in their CRMs and DMSs and there needs to be a few changes before the 25th May.
Customer retention is the end game- it’s what all dealerships are looking to nail and this is becoming increasingly hard. Doug Van Sach, AutoLoop’s Vice President, put it perfectly when he said, “the hard truth for dealers is most consumers have redefined what it means to be loyal in the digital age.”
When it comes to customer retention, I know this is every dealership’s primary goal but it’s easier said than done. The car buying process has changed because the customer has. We now live in a digital world which allows the customer to be firmly in the driving seat. The modern customer now has a range of dealers, service options and price plans to choose from, and all with the click of a button.
The traditional car buying process is a thing of the past, in today’s world customers clearly do business on their own terms and they come well reinforced with information, which means they know exactly what they want. But, one thing that hasn’t changed is the emotion attached to buying a car.
The digitalisation of the buying process has particularly effected the automotive industry. Customers are carrying out most of the buying journey online and, in most cases, only come into the dealership when they have almost made their purchase decision. Everything is quick, easy and optimised and this is what has become the norm. Anything that doesn’t hit the mark with those points sticks out like an underperforming sore thumb.
I recently wrote about how the UK sales of new cars has declined. But, it’s not all doom and gloom as Close Brothers has reported that 92% of car dealers are feeling confident about 2018. So, what’s the deal? Well, let’s consider the table below:
Feel like a king
Your dealership management system is the heart and soul of your dealership, this is something that every member of staff will be using every day. This is the communication and transparency you rely on. Your DMS should make you and your dealership feel like a King. It should give you power, control and ensure you are fully informed on the goings-on of your roost.
According to the SMMT 2.5 million cars were registered in 2017. This is a 5.7% drop from 2016. This may come as a surprise to many as the market has been growing year on year since 2012.
The modern customer is savvy, informed and in control. Their expectations are high and their patience is low. This is true in every industry and is particularly the case in the automotive industry and, more specifically, the car-buying and after sales processes.
According to AutoVHC’s research, failure to complete vehicle health checks cost the average franchised dealership £11,000 in aftersales revenue last summer. AutoVHC’s business unit director Chris Saunders added that service departments are “simply throwing away revenue opportunities”.