“Take it or Leave it” has been a very common theme occurring in the auto industry over the past two to three years. While it seems to be that customers are evolving and adapting to this moniker (or reality), is it something that we should be allowing to stay as a practice in our place of business?
Those of us that are taking a look at the bigger picture know that this way of sales is not something that will be available in this “seller’s market” for very long, nor should it be. One year, over the span of 15-30 that a customer may be purchasing cars for is not enough time to adapt to this “hot” market. We cannot forget that great customers stick with us, and all of our customers are going to remember their experience when they came to purchase a vehicle with our dealership. While we all know that not EVERY experience is a great one, we should strive for excellence for every customer that walks in our showroom doors.
We need to have everyone on our team present a united front when it comes to this philosophy as well. The phrase “one bad apple can ruin the bunch” rings true. When everyone is on the same page working for the greater good of the team, we will prevail. Presenting a unified front on the phone and in person is also crucial to this cause. If we have one person with a poor attitude brooming customers at the front door or over the phone, it won’t take long before word gets around about a lack of empathy for the customer. With social media “reviews” and cancel culture running rampant, we need to strive for excellent customer service each and every time we interact with our customers.
Some customers are impossible to please, however if we have a standard that is set and followed, it is very easy to rest knowing that we made every effort to assist, and the customer was just unreasonable. Right now, there are plenty of reasonable customers getting the short end of the stick when it comes to genuine customer service because the staff assisting them only sees 30 days in front of their face. They think that because they hold the cards that they will be able to cherry pick customers or that by the law of averages, someone will want the vehicle that their initial customer did not.
The other item to consider is that growth is seen most through adversity. Sales is experiencing an unprecedented era where customers NEED to order/reserve ahead of time to get what they are looking for and sometimes there aren’t even vehicles to test drive. Learning to adapt to this has been tough across the board. Those associates that stick with the concept of customer first and foremost are going to come out on top in the end.
So, to sum this all up, we MUST focus on the larger picture. Focus on assisting each customer to the best of our ability including communicating all available options in an organized and professional manner. When this is done, and we are thorough with explaining the process and current market (even if that isn’t what the customer really wants to hear) we cannot go wrong.
A customer will take note of how they were treated over the phone and in person regardless of whether they heard what they wanted or not. And they’ll talk about it. Let’s make sure that talk is positive, and we are cultivating loyal customers for life.