Deciding What Products/Services an Auto Dealership Should Offer
The auto dealership industry is anything but stagnant. The fluctuating economy, as well as changes in customer expectations and demands, can make it challenging for dealerships to determine which services are beneficial to maintaining a sales edge, and which are ineffective or inefficient. Ultimately, the best products and services offered by today’s auto dealership are ones with a dual-purpose design: offering financial advantages for the dealership, while providing a satisfying customer service experience for the prospective car buyer.
No matter how much a customer loves a car, the sale is unlikely to happen if the price isn’t right. Financing is a particularly lucrative service for auto dealerships, because it provides critical options for the buyer. While the negotiating often takes place on the floor between the dealership’s finance department and the customer, the loan is actually on behalf of a third party finance company based on standard, pre-approval conditions and requirements.
This arrangement represents minimal risk to the dealer, and maximum benefit to the customer, who often can obtain a better rate through this method than by seeking a loan with their local credit union or bank. Additionally, additional perks like the option of mobile payments, are beneficial ways of enhancing customer satisfaction.
Today’s auto dealerships can also offer other popular services falling under the umbrella of finance. These can include service contracts which extend beyond the standard manufacturer’s warranty coverage to provide for additional mechanical failure, as well as insurance policies, which are typically managed through a leading insurance company. As with the purchase financing, the dealership handles only the negotiating, while the contract is between the third party and the car buyer.
You’ve Been Serviced…
Maintenance and repair is another valuable service which is financially beneficial to the car dealership while also being advantageous to the customer. An auto dealership offers a highly trained staff of experts, resulting in optimal car care, as well as quick and easy access to parts. Customers enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that their cars are in trusted, experienced hands.
For the dealership, meanwhile, this is not only a highly profitable service, but also a great way to keep customers coming back around to see—and hopefully buy—new and exciting models.
…With a Smile
While an auto dealership is selling a car, the shopper is buying an experience. Customer satisfaction is perhaps the most important service you can offer to prospective buyers, as poor or inattentive service can stop a car buying outing in its tracks.
Not only are today’s shoppers more sophisticated in their knowledge about the process, but the economy has forced them to be more judicious with their spending dollars. As a result, they expect more from salespeople both in terms of what they know and how that information is conveyed. Underestimating the importance of customer service can mean the difference between a prospective buyer walking out the door in under ten minutes, or a mutually satisfying sale.
Joanna Hughes is a freelance writer with experience and knowledge on a variety of topics, from lifestyle and fashion to technology and industry.
Photo Credits: Molly DG and JessicaHTam