A Recommendable Customer Experience

By December 1, 2015 February 6th, 2017 Service Drive

Quickest way to customer acquisition? A recommendable customer experience!

The ‘last best’ purchase experience becomes the new minimum expectation for modern day consumers. Dealership investments in electronic Vehicle Health Check (eVHC) and electronic Customer Survey Index (eCSI) systems can help deliver a professional and engaging service experience that customers are delighted to recommend to friends and family.

Did you know that it can cost between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one?

That’s why taking care of your existing customers is critical to your ongoing success. Striving for complete customer satisfaction and a quality customer experience that is ‘recommendable’ by word of mouth and online, can ultimately be a very quick and cost-effective way to customer acquisition.

“If growth is what you are after, you won’t learn much from complex measurements of customer satisfaction or retention. You simply need to know what your customers tell their friends about you”
Frederick Reichheld, Harvard Business Review

Undoubtedly, social recommendations such as those found on Facebook, Twitter and specialist business sites such as Yelp are increasingly influencing the outcome of purchase decisions. In our time-poor society, social recommendations now carry more credibility in the decision making process than ever before. For example, consumers will often see no need to stray far from the good experience that their close and trusted friends and family enjoyed and spoke positively about. In the same way a clear majority consensus from online reviewers can reduce the cognitive effort and time required to reach a purchase decision. If you can build a bank of positive online reviews and ambassadors that recommend your dealership to friends and family via word of mouth, your business will see more and more new customers.

What makes a recommendable customer experience?

Customers want professionalism, expert knowledge and responsive service. A recommendable service experience doesn’t revolve entirely around having a fantastic customer lounge and coffee machine. After all, those things although certainly appreciable, don’t deliver a well serviced and repaired vehicle which is the reason why the customer has visited the dealership.

When it comes to the vehicle servicing, a common customer gripe is the feeling of not ‘being in control of the situation’. Asking a customer to pay for a complicated repair that hasn’t been explained properly, or justified transparently with photo and video evidence, will certainly impact on dealership reputation and trustworthiness. Customers must be able to understand what they’re buying. If not, they might authorise repairs on the day as to get their vehicle back on the road quickly, but it’s unlikely they will positively recommend the dealership to family and friends and return the next time around.

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A thorough and structured vehicle inspection process that treats every vehicle in exactly the fashion also builds reputation. Starting the process with a quick inspection of exterior consumables such as wipers, tyres and bulbs is a great way to involve and engage the customer immediately and at a level of complexity that can easily be understood. Give the customer a tip or two about what to look for and they might pass this information on to their friends and family too, and mention your dealership in the process.

Using the same consistent method to price repairs is also crucial. If a customer has only a sneaky suspicion that they’ve been priced in a different manner to other vehicle owners, it’s unlikely they will speak positively about the dealership. Digital, VIN-precise pricing and quoting is a fast and accurate way to ensure consistency for every vehicle owner, every time.

Customers who have a problem that is effectively resolved will tell an average of 4 to 6 people about their experience.

Listening to the customer is also a critical factor in ensuring a recommendable customer experience. Customers want to be acknowledged, appreciated and able to give their opinion – good or bad. That’s why an electronic Customer Survey Index (eCSI) system is so valuable. If negative feedback is delivered, it provides a last opportunity to swiftly rectify any issues and make certain that the customer leaves your dealership satisfied. Showing your commitment and rectifying last minutes’ issues shows that you’re prepared to go above and beyond for your customers, and as a consequence the customer is more likely to recommend the dealership to family and friends.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customers; what do you believe makes a recommendable customer experience? How do you go about transforming a happy customer into a positive spokesman for the dealership?