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Tag Archive: Customer Experience

Kevin Baumgart

How to Improve Your Customer Experience with Better Employees

Businessmen talking

You never want your dealership to become infamous for poor customer service. No company wants that sort of stain on their brand image. And in today’s always-on, always-connected society, it’s incredibly easy for poor customer experiences to go viral and impact both sales and your brand image.

Comcast has a well-documented history of infuriating customers. If you recall this internet phenomenon from 2014, there was an encounter between a customer who was trying to cancel internet service and a Comcast employee who worked tirelessly to convince him otherwise. The recording of the conversation is painful to hear. Even a company as customer-centric as Amazon has been drawn into the crossfire through a poor customer experience during a live chat session where the customer was called the wrong name and gender throughout the encounter.

Needless to say, the internet is an unforgiving place in many respects when it comes to showcasing poor customer experiences. What’s more, a clear takeaway from each of these examples is that the individual employees have a significant role in shaping these experiences and perceptions as a whole.

With better employees, you’re able to make substantial progress towards creating a dealership culture and operational standard that consistently provides exceptional customer experiences.

How To Get Started with A Hiring Strategy

According to an article for Harvard Business Review, companies that effectively manage the entire customer experience see improved customer and employee satisfaction, stronger loyalty and higher revenue. From a hiring perspective, you need to implement a standardized process to select better quality employees who will provide your customers with a higher quality experiences.

Improving customer experiences doesn’t happen by addressing a single interaction with a customer—it involves everyone in your dealership. It’s truly a cultural shift, and one that needs to be reflected in the attitudes and core competencies of each and every employee.

With that in mind, here are a few qualities that you should look for in each candidate:

  • Listening abilities – In a customer service position, being able to focus your attention exclusively on the customer sometimes feels like a lost art—and like assessing artwork, trying to be objective about a person’s listening skills can be tricky when you’re not given the right tools. This is the type of soft skill that will likely present itself during a phone or in-person interview with job candidates. Take this opportunity to measure the accuracy of their responses to pointed questions, whether they talk over the interviewer and if their body language indicates they’re paying attention to you.
  • Empathy – Like listening skills, empathy is pretty difficult to judge unless you see a candidate in action. However, pre-screening tests and assessments can provide insight into whether a candidate will respond to a hypothetical situation in the right way. At the same time, you can ask open-ended questions that allow you to see whether the candidate exhibits empathy in response to a customer’s issues.
  • Technology literacy – While a great deal of customer experience management comes down to face-to-face human interaction and people skills, you need staff that understands how to get things done from a technical perspective. The kindest, most accommodating person in the world will still rub a car buyer the wrong way if he or she can’t point out specifications or talk about key vehicle features such as infotainment or Bluetooth connectivity with customers. Skills assessment tests are ideal for this sort of situation, providing you with an objective metric by which to score job candidates.

Understand Your Customers

At the foundation of your shift toward providing exceptional customer experiences is knowing your customer through and through. According to the annual J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, the number one thing new-car buyers look for when they’re selecting a specific model is reliability and durability. So, if your sales team member immediately starts off by how cool the customer will look in the vehicle, they may be getting off on the wrong foot—or, at least, isn’t addressing the customer’s priorities.

You need employees who have the listening skills, attitude and know-how to get to the bottom of what your customers want from the get-go. That means smarter hiring. Dealers with a process-driven approach are much more likely to find and hire quality candidates. In fact, 70% of our auto customer’s new employees hired through Hireology are rated as high-quality hires.

Take a data-driven approach to hiring that leverages skills assessments, pre-screening tools and interview checklists that help you objectively evaluate candidates.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing the guidance on employee referral programs. Learn more about Hireology. And join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice for hiring the best people for your team in our Finding Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plan classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/10/how-to-improve-your-customer-experience-with-better-employees/

Joe Basil

Stop “Unselling” Your Customers!

unselling

How many used car deals have you “unsold” lately?

Yes, exactly: unsold. Take a look at your used car closing ratio. Chances are it’s between 25 to 35% … maybe even 50%. That means you aren’t closing half—even up to 75%—of your opportunities. So, what happened to the customers who came in for a specific used car and left without buying?

I have a guess: They got “unsold” at your dealership.

Sales decisions are faster than ever

Remember the old days? Back when we had showroom traffic logs on hand-written sheets and phone messages on pink slips? I kept our entire used-car inventory on a sheet in my pocket! And customers would visit four or more dealerships, on average, before closing a deal. They’d visit to collect information on availability, pricing and selection. It’s during those times that we’d take a car on trade, put a price on it and “let’s see what happens.” Well, those days are long gone!

In today’s used car world, customers are making slightly more than one dealership visit before purchasing. Instead of coming into the showroom, the internet gives them a portal for instant access to all of their pre-purchase research on model availability, pricing, dealership reputation and geographic proximity. The majority of used-car customers come into our showrooms knowing what cars we have and what our prices are. Typically, they’ve already selected the car or truck they want to purchase. With so many customers submitting web leads, hitting the “call now” button or just showing up on the lot informed and ready to purchase, we should be closing 100% of our used-car traffic.

Why aren’t you closing more leads?

As Dave Anderson has frequently pointed out, we have total control over two differentiating factors in our dealerships: our people and our customer experience. Based on the fact that most customers come into our showroom with a vehicle selected, there’s clearly some disconnect between these two factors that causes customers to become “unsold.”

Inspect what we expect

When disconnects happen, it’s a good time to inspect what we expect! It’s time to audit your customer experience. Shop your own store online, on the phone, listen to the phone calls and mystery shop in the showroom

Consider whether or not you have the right people in the right position. Do your employees express your dealership culture and values to each customer, every time?

Take a look at the customer handling process. Is it a one-size-fits-all approach, or do you adapt to the customer’s purchasing preferences? Customers should have an experience that earns you rave reviews in reputation management. If that’s not happening, ask yourself if your salespeople are trained properly on how to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Spot check, too, to see if they can even describe it accurately.

Sure, the sales process has changed. But thanks to the internet, many people come onto the lot informed and ready to purchase—meaning we have more opportunities than ever to close more deals. Take advantage of this new reality by making sure your staff and customer handling process is up to the task.

Do you have a problem with customers becoming “unsold” at your dealership? Comment below and tell us how you’ve solved this issue. 

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/10/stop-unselling-your-customers/