Why Shop Here? Your Culture Matters.

When thinking about business operations, it’s common to examine sales strategies, customer service procedures, and customer experience. Less common is a review of dealership culture, which is the cornerstone that drives your operations and provides consistency. Business culture is the collection of beliefs, values, and practices that are more esoteric and usually defined at a high level.

Culture in Real-Time
An example of a business value is “We do whatever we can to ensure our guests are happy and satisfied.” When translated into procedure, this becomes a reality through reliable steps that likely will create a more-than-satisfied customer, such as an enthusiastic greeting, consistent communication (not too much and not too little), a trusting & respectful experience, and value-added, follow-up communication.

Business culture becomes even more important in the events that aren’t well-defined - an encounter that falls outside the procedural norm. At this point, your culture will provide the philosophy that allows your personnel to be creative and inspires them to stretch beyond the usual methods.

Culture Pre- and Post- Sale
For women customers, your culture is especially important. Six out of 10 women who leave your store without buying will not return. Sixty per cent! That translates into millions of dollars lost that could be saved with the right business culture to provide oversight. Below are examples of culture and how it can be used towards truly optimizing sales:

  1. Pre-visit: The time customers spend before entering your store is critical to set expectations for their engagement. A dealer’s website is the #1 digital resource women visit. What does yours say about your culture? Do photos show diversity and inclusiveness? Can the customer see that you put them first, or is it all product? More importantly, does your website match what happens at your store? An attractive, informative website is only the beginning. The experience must have continuity once a woman enters your store.
  2. In-store engagement: When your customer enters your store, be especially mindful of the 60% that walk out and don’t come back. Your culture should incorporate a welcoming greeting to answer your customers’ questions. Women value trust and want to establish an honest relationship with their consultant. A culture that epitomizes extraordinary communication will help keep your customer engaged for a visit that creates value.
  3. Customer expectations: Establishing and maintaining quality customer relationships means meeting expectations throughout the entire cycle. Customers have their own values and beliefs, and the more aligned they are with your dealership culture, the better your chances of a successful deal.
  4. Metrics and review: To understand whether your culture and customer experience match, you must collect objective, third-party adequate, and appropriate data. Analyzing all customer engagements is crucial. It is easy to dismiss someone who says they are “just looking,” but you may dismiss someone who really is shopping but was unhappy with how she was treated. If your culture includes learning as much as possible about customer interactions, you can identify strengths and weaknesses. This means going beyond the dutiful CSI.

As we approach 2019, it is the time to review and rethink how your dealership culture contributes or detracts from your customer’s experience. How can you improve your interactions to pass your enthusiasm on to customers who are then inspired to be part of the 40% who return to your dealership and improve your long-term retention?


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Comment by Jeffrey Seyler on December 23, 2018 at 5:27pm

So often the dealership environment is a "Tale of Two Cities"! Nicely put.

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