As the motoring industry moves swiftly along to try and meet the expectations of a demanding public, it’s interesting to bring updates and sound bites of how in some areas these changes are taking place. We have already begun to see a changing profile to sales and aftersales teams. Whereas in previous years customer care and retention was important to businesses and manufactures as well as many other car sales and repair outlets, unfortunately this commitment to deliver a first class customer experience has not always been shared by some of the people paid to carry put that task. Unfortunately all the while sales people in particular are paid a larger percentage of their take home pay in commission there will always be the temptation to ‘cut corners’ and maybe not always act in the best interests of the business and more importantly the consumer.
We have commented on the fact that dealer prospecting and marketing systems are becoming much more sophisticated. They are able to gather more information about customer lifestyles and habits with the ultimate aim of marrying up customers with the “right” vehicles. The internet has bought more power to customers and car businesses have to act to adapt to this change in the dynamics. Interestingly, as we reported, the way in which car businesses are making profit have changed and continue to do so. The next stage, according to some of our sources in the trade, is that not only are customers being asked to give out information on virtually every aspect of their lifestyle in order that they are matched with a suitable car, but dealers are now not leaving anything to chance when a customer makes contact.
These dealers are employing staff specifically to identify what salesperson would suit a particular customer in order that a rapport can be created and the customer and salesperson can be secure in the fact they will interact and complete the process in a mutually satisfactory way. Basically potential customers are profiled based on the responses they give to a short questionnaire. These responses give the sales manager an insight into how the customer prefers to be approached and dealt with in a sales scenario. Armed with this information the sale manager can select the most suitable salesperson from the team. Some switched on sales mangers won’t even require the results of a questionnaire they will simply – calling on their many years of experience – ascertain the customer “type” from their behaviour.
Sound farfetched and fanciful? Maybe, but as buyers continue to try and rid themselves of cars they bought in haste or were expertly levered into, if a dealer can ensure that they have a team of sales people who are capable from, their own personality, to look after customers who are like minded there may be less instances of bad choices being made.
More importantly if buyers trust salespeople and the salespeople in turn can make a genuine connection with their customers based on their own characteristics then the current level of complaints and dissatisfaction, particularly in used cars, may start to improve dramatically.