While cars have evolved over the past decades, not much has evolved when it comes to the actual retail buying process at a dealership. Just last month I was in the market to buy a new car (RIP 2003 Honda Accord), but knew for certain I was not going back to Honda due to the poor customer experience I had over 10 years ago! (Even though the car itself was great.) As I was on my quest to find a new car I can proudly say I finally had the best car buying experience. Ever. And, it all had to do with one thing: the dealership understood that customer experience is a journey.
It’s important in all aspects of business to create a great customer experience. That starts at the initial touch point, whether it’s a contact form, free download, phone call, email, or a simple “hello.” But it doesn’t end there! The customer experience journey starts with shopping, goes to purchase, and continues throughout the life of the product, and extends across all of the myriad contacts that involves.
Over the years, Infosurv Research has conducted many customer experience research projects, and we have learned some important lessons for designing and delivering a superior customer experience.
Infosurv’s 5 Steps for a Great Customer Experience
- Create meaningful touch points: You wouldn’t believe how many times I walked into a car dealership and was completely ignored! Guess where I bought my car? Not there! Your first impression is important. The dealership where I bought my car not only acknowledged me but offered me drinks and snacks, gave me a free book written by the owner of the dealership, and a 10 minute speech about their duty (that’s right, duty – not intention) to provide the best customer service. Think about your company’s touch points–Are they meaningful to the customer? Keep reaching out as many times as you see fit to make the customer feel special without annoying them.
- Go through your entire customer process and identify pain points: You know that old adage “you never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” How do you know what your customers feel about your service/product if you don’t think like your customer? Knowing what your customers like and don’t like is golden information.
- Administer Transactional/Relationship Surveys: The best way to get to the bottom of what your customers think is through a survey that delivers objective results. It’s not what you heard through the grapevine or what you think—you’ll actually know! Right after I purchased my car, the dealership sent me an online survey to rate their service and my satisfaction. Customer feedback is essential in maintaining a healthy customer experience. Read our blog on How Measuring Customer Satisfaction Increases Business Success.
- Take Action: This is probably the most challenging step because it requires change. Change can be difficult and often takes time and money. But not always! You might be surprised how simple, cost-free changes can impact your customer experience. After all, it doesn’t cost anything to make sure the customer is greeted sincerely. And how much did those drinks and snacks actually cost my dealer? But they sure made a strong impression – and set that business apart from the competition.
- Repeat: As we said before, the journey never ends. And keep in mind: each customer is different and may need a different customer experience. So rinse and repeat to continually monitor your customers experience and your own progress.
Start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and take their journey. (And it wouldn’t hurt to mystery shop your competition, either!) If you need some help, Infosurv Research can guide you through the process—just reach out to us here!
By the way, I purchased a new 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.0T at Rick Case Gwinnett and I 100% recommend them!
This blog is written by Danica Kwon, Research Specialist at Infosurv