How not to frustrate customers out of their new-car excitement

A great customer experience is everything.

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Buying a new vehicle is an exciting experience––or at least it should be. Most would agree they enjoy the pleasure of choosing their favorite model, picking out colors, adding accessories, and driving their new vehicle off the lot. But that’s not usually all there is to it, unfortunately.

According to a study conducted by Beepi, Inc. and Harris Poll, more than three in five Americans feel taken advantage of while shopping at a dealership. In fact, nearly 90% of respondents reported disliking something about the car-buying process. So, to help put your customers at ease, here are four main pain points in the purchasing process and how to fix them.

Customer Pain Point 1: They feel pressured before they’ve had a chance to research their options.

Improvement Tip: Provide an informative website that’s easy to navigate.

The majority of customers start shopping online before ever visiting a dealership. That’s why it’s crucial your store has a website that offers clear, thorough details on inventory, incentives, and financing options.

Help your customers find what they need on your site so they don’t need to visit your competitor’s to find the information. And don’t forget to include a chat window and contact forms so customers can easily inquire for more information, get pre-approved, and set up an appointment for a test-drive.

Customer Pain Point 2: They don’t feel they can trust a dealer.

Improvement Tip: Establish transparency throughout your processes.

While customers are on your website, they’ll be determining if your store has what they’re looking for—which means pricing transparency and accurate vehicle availability are key to grabbing their attention and guiding them toward the sale.

Giving customers upfront pricing is a fantastic way to win their trust—but only when that pricing is accurate and applies to the general customer base. Offering a flat price factoring in incentives like private mail offers, military discounts, or rebates for Costco members isn’t doing you any favors. In fact, it’s this type of bait-and-switch practice that’s diminished trust in car dealers over time. And including a blanket disclaimer such as “any and all discounts applied” doesn’t help, either. These disclaimers often go unnoticed by customers, and they aren’t sure what discounts were used, or which of those discounts actually apply to them. So instead, offer a breakdown of how you arrived at the pricing you did. Display the MSRP, along with the current incentives (and their expiration date), and any other discounts applicable to that model/trim. That way customers clearly understand that the price for them may vary when they come in to seal the deal.

Beyond providing upfront pricing, you should also be providing an accurate portrayal of your inventory. Many customers experience unwanted surprises when they find their dream vehicle on your website at their preferred price—but come in to find that the deal they saw online was only available for that certain trim. A trim that you no longer have in stock and won’t be getting back in anytime soon. To combat situations like this, it’s smart to align what you offer online with what you offer in-store.

Customer Pain Point 3: They feel the entire sales process is daunting and disjointed.

Improvement Tip: Create a seamless sales experience with the right technology.

Once customers are on your showroom floor armed with their research and trade-in value, they’re excited to purchase a new vehicle––but not excited about the process to get there. Ease customer concerns by empowering your sales team with the tools and technology to create that “wow” experience.

Using tablets will help your sales team provide that knowledgeable-consultant interaction many customers are looking for. With the right apps, your team will be able to look up inventory and current incentives, run credit checks, cut deal times with digital desking options, and more. Plus, they’ll be able to spend more time face to face with customers rather than running back and forth.

Customer Pain Point 4: They fear a lengthy paperwork process.

Improvement Tip: Simplify your F&I interactions.

Honestly, who likes paperwork? Especially when it’s the only thing standing between you and your shiny new ride. Giving customers the option to browse financing options––and even begin the paperwork online––is one way to simplify your F&I processes. Additionally, a sales team equipped with the right tools will be able to complete parts of the process as well.

In an industry where customers are often apprehensive, anxious, and uncomfortable during what should be an exciting interaction, there are huge opportunities for you to make your dealership stand out from the competition by disrupting the norm and doing things a little differently. With the tools, technology, and transparency customers demand, you’ll close more deals than ever and earn loyal customers for life.

Jessica Roberts

Director of Strategic Accounts

Return to Sales

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