If there’s one thing operating in the aftermath of a global pandemic has taught us, it’s that customers are individuals and need to be treated as such.
Whilst the drive for personalisation has practically become a mantra over the past few years, it has taken coronavirus to force many of us to treat each customer as a genuine individual.
One-size-fits-all doesn't fit any more
The global crisis has affected us all differently, some may have suffered with the virus themselves and others may have even lost loved ones, meanwhile, those of us with underlying health conditions or who fall into certain age groups will be much more wary at returning to ‘normal’. It has forced all customer facing businesses to revaluate the service they deliver and how they deliver it with individual circumstances taken into consideration like never before. Meanwhile, there’s also a small matter of legal requirements for a business to be covid compliant from one-way systems to mask-wearing.
In the past, we all may have been guilty in believing and reiterating that ‘one size does not fit all’, but there’s no doubt, it has always been easier to run businesses along more general lines because the efficiencies of doing so make more economic sense. Thus, opening times have been fairly standard and the courtesy services are pretty much run of the mill.
However, businesses are finding themselves having to respond to customers on an individual level like never before and automotive retail is no exception. Opening hours have been extended, accommodated by split shifts which also mean technicians can work further apart from each other in the workshop.
Having the tools to support it
Such an individualistic approach also requires a more attentive and person-centric skillset from customer-facing staff but cannot be achieved or maintained with any credibility without the support of digital tools. It includes an effective workshop management system enabling service advisors to have sight of work in progress at their fingertips and automated communications with video of work required or a clean bill of health and authorisation requests and responses all contained in one place
Dealers where such tools were already in place and employees far more used to responding digitally and individually have found themselves better placed to meet consumer demands as businesses entice people back into both showrooms and service departments.
Whilst dealers are probably busy managing the backlog of routine servicing and those MOTs which were eligible for the six-month extension in their workshops, this will inevitably be balanced by the fact that many of us are clocking up fewer miles. Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s rallying call to return to the workplace, office workers are invariably still working from home and employers are questioning the need for such expensive ‘hangouts’ when the positives of home working appear to be outweighing the negatives.
Dealers need to be doing everything they can to attract custom from their loyal database and among new customers and focusing and meeting the needs of each individual will be a business booster.