One of the positives which will hopefully remain once this downturn eventually recedes is that the showroom experience might be more positive than perhaps it’s ever been. It is now well acknowledged in the trade that buyers are more informed than ever about cars and specifications and with the internet and the improvements in technology dealers and manufacturers have actually encouraged potential buyers to empower themselves and to gain the confidence to come into showrooms and buy cars. What is happening now is that dealers are ensuring, more than ever, that sales people are better trained in having all the answers and being able to assist buyers with information which maybe is not advertised on their websites about other products or greater technical information.
It has been the case that many customers down the years, no matter how “tuned in” to cars they are, still find that driving their new car away and reading the manuals doesn’t necessarily give them, the answers to everything, like what is that strange button for? What do those letters stand for? With cars becoming more technical than ever and car makers striving to be the first to offer the most innovative technology and gadgets with which they endeavour to impress customers, even some sales people, who are surrounded by them all day, need to ask others before letting the customer in on the secret.
For instance cars now have IPod and phone integration, cameras, touch screen sat-nav which can also work in Outer Mongolia, massaging seats and even space-age systems which allow cars to park themselves! If we include the various eco-friendly choices the list of extras and advancements cars could have in the future will be truly mind-boggling so it is vital that front line staff are properly trained in order to give confidence to buyers and encourage them to spread the word to friends and family.
It is certainly a mixed bag at present and as we alluded to yesterday some dealers are doing better than others but, to be fair, there are healthy signs that many dealers are embracing these concepts and certainly not being complacent when it comes to existing and future customers needs.
Despite the recession, many dealers are still ensuring that sales people are compliant and completing the correct training in order to possess the skills required to assist customers in making a choice that is suitable for their needs and not just beneficial to the bottom line for the dealer they purchase from.
If you have bought a car recently you will almost certainly have been asked to complete some sort of customer satisfaction survey and if the experience has been a good one and the salesperson has done everything he promised the feedback will clearly be positive. However customers should now expect that when making a purchase of this magnitude that they feel confident enough in the integrity of the dealer they bought from to want to go back again and also to recommend the service to others.
We feel confidant that well managed dealers who invest in the right kind of people going forward to beat the crunch, will become stronger because of it and, who knows, eventually allow just the estate agents and bankers to be saddled with the sobriquet of ”dodgy dealer”.