Are you familiar with the concept of customer experience (CX)? Companies across industries use it as a crucial success metric.
At these companies, there is a strong correlation between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth. Attention to CX isn’t just a “nice to have” element in your business—failing to address it could cost you big.
Retail experiences have never been so convenient as they are today. Customers have come to expect frictionless buying experiences, and this expectation often has an even greater influence than traditional metrics like quality and price.
Take Amazon Go, for example—the retail giant’s new brick and mortar concept. It allows shoppers who scan their smartphones when entering the store to simply place items in their bags and walk right out the door: no checkout lines, no waiting, no hassles.
The underlying technology behind Amazon Go is staggering and complex—RFID tags, sensor fusing, deep learning, computer vision, etc.—but the in-store experience is just pure, simple ease.
It follows that if consumers are having these kinds of retail experiences elsewhere, they’re going to expect it from your dealership as well.
The data agrees: Relevate Auto reports that 72% of people say they would visit dealerships more frequently if the buying process were improved, and almost half make a point to shop at dealerships known for friendly and helpful staff, according to V12 Data.
Shoppers are even willing to pay more for a better experience, with 54% respondents in the Relevate study stating they would choose a dealership with a better customer experience, even if prices were higher.
A great customer experience at your dealership involves many factors, but it starts on your website, because so many shoppers prefer to begin their research and buying process online. Your website is your metaphorical showroom, and should conform to all the CX standards you expect from your human staff.
A great customer experience on your dealership website is a great experience at your dealership. It builds loyalty and value before you even get the chance to meet your customers face to face, helping people move their buying process forward with you.
So what goes into providing that great CX on your dealership website that makes buying a car simpler, more convenient, and more enjoyable? Here are three actionable strategies.
Customers want their online shopping experiences to speak to their individual needs.
They don’t want to see content that is not relevant to their stage of buying or set of particular interests. Instead, they want to find the answers to their questions, plus content and offers that help them make a decision that’s right for them.
To personalize your dealership website, load it with plenty of high-quality content and information, and then implement smart-targeting technology to take that content and deliver it to the right customers at the right time.
Engaging customers in a personalized way encourages both loyalty and lead conversion more effectively than a one-size-fits-all approach.
2. Find the pain points and fix them
Here’s an exercise: Think of your website as a sales agent.
What is your first impression of her? Do you like how she talks to you? Does she listen well and answer your concerns and needs, or go off on irrelevant tangents? Does she make you want to do business with her?
Next, walk through the entire process of shopping on your website. Apply the same criteria you would for a salesperson, and make sure there aren’t any holes.
Pricing information hidden? Make it transparent. Not enough features on new cars, and no comparisons between popular models? Provide them on your website so that customers don’t need to seek information on third-party sites.
Are your trade-in, finance, and prequalification forms all user-friendly and accessible? These are crucial tools your customers are looking for, so they should be as convenient and prominent as possible.
Easing your shoppers’ online shopping process is part of a great CX plan.
3. Use tools to maximum benefit
Don’t get lost in a feature chase. Think first about your customers’ needs, and then consider which tools can help you address them.
There are a lot of tools and technologies that you can use on your website, so make sure to sift through them and use the ones that actually enhance the customer experience.
Take chat, for example. It’s great to have a tool that can engage directly with users on your website, providing extra support without tying up your sales or BDC personnel. But don’t just add a chat widget and think you’ve checked that box.
Ask yourself if your chat tool is really providing customers with true value: Are their messages being answered immediately? Are they getting the information they’re seeking? Do they feel overly pressured to give their contact information?
Seeking more leads is naturally a main goal of chat, but it will be ineffective if customers don’t receive anything that they consider valuable.
Another example is pop-ups, the lead capture tools meant to grab customers’ attention and move them forward in the buying process. Pop-ups can provide customers with value—or they can frustrate them with poor timing, design, or content.
Make sure that every tool you use provides true benefit to your customers. This will also help you get more leads.
The more today’s customers have experiences like Amazon Go, the more they anticipate efficient, convenient, and intuitive shopping experiences. Maximizing your dealership website for CX can provide this superior experience, lead more people into your showroom, and boost sales.
Alexandra Joseph is a designer-turned-product manager, fascinated with harnessing emerging technologies and designing unique customer experiences. She works on developing and perfecting AutoLeadStar’s products to help dealerships deliver value on their websites.
Latest posts by Alexandra Joseph
- 5 Strategies to Improve UX at Your Dealership - July 10, 2018
- 3 Strategies That Create a Great Customer Experience on Your Website - May 24, 2017