I don’t get it.
Why do some businesses invest enormous sums of money in marketing, technology and customer-relationship software, but then make it hard to do business with them?
There is a Chevrolet dealership that keeps its facilities updated with state-of-the-art equipment, from computers to rooftop solar panels.
Yet, it is known as a very difficult place to buy anything from. A friend who was looking for a new truck told me he planned to go there.
Knowing its reputation from others who tried to work with the dealership and having had a personal experience, I told my friend what to expect.
He went anyway. He looked at some of the trucks on the big lot and found one he liked. But no one was around to help. While standing next to the truck, he called the dealership.
Before talking to anyone, a recording informed him “This call may be monitored for quality and training purposes.” When he reached the receptionist, he asked her to send out a salesperson to help him.
She told him, “We don’t do that here. You have to come into the showroom.” Then she hung up. He called back and again politely asked the receptionist to send someone out so he didn’t have to walk all the way to the building and back. She hung up again.
He called back. But this time, he told her what he thought about the service and the dealership. He then drove to a different dealership where he ended up buying a new truck.
The first dealership has excellent products, facilities, location, technology and marketing. But it makes it hard on customers, even those who fully intend to buy a vehicle there.
Are they training people properly, or just putting money into technology?
I don’t understand it. This business has the technology to monitor calls for training purposes but it doesn’t listen or correct the problems. Customers consistently are mistreated.
Why would any business employ someone as the first point of customer contact if that person won’t do his or her job and help the customer?
Why invest lots of money to get ahead in every aspect of technology –infrastructure, business systems, websites, Internet marketing, CRM, business-development centers, email campaigns and social media-marketing – to drive business to the store, but fail to invest in educating staffers on how to take care of customers?
If a dealership’s professionals can’t provide the red-carpet treatment – or any help at all – what is the point of spending money on technology and marketing? Technology doesn’t sell cars. People do.
One of the biggest customer complaints is the lengthy and exasperating negotiation process associated with buying a car. Yet, most customers are lost long before the negotiations start, and not because they couldn’t find the right vehicle.
Without an accurate traffic count – a count of every person who enters the dealership – management will never know how many potential customers they had and how many were lost.
Many salespeople are not interested in listening to customers in order to learn their vehicle needs, wants and desires. Essentially, they tell customers, “This is how we sell cars. These are the cars we want to push today. Do it our way or leave.” Salespeople – and management – need to learn to work from the customer’s perspective. Adopt the attitude that tells customers “We do business your way.”
Sales opportunities present themselves every day. Every person who comes to a dealership, stands by a vehicle or sits with a salesperson represents an opportunity for a sale.
These customers seek expert help to, first, find the right vehicle (one that matches needs, wants and desires) and, second, to buy it at the right price. No opportunity will ever come to fruition if a dealership doesn’t have people who are interested in and trained to work with customers and help them buy cars.
Focus on customers first, and the bells and whistles second. After all, customers don’t just wander in randomly. They do their research and make a concerted effort to come to the dealership. They are ready to buy. Technology may help bring them in, but it’s an effectively trained staff that turns them into customers.
Richard F. Libin is the author of the book, “Who Stopped the Sale?” (www.whostoppedthesale.com) and president of Automotive Profit Builders, specializing in enhancing customer satisfaction and maximizing gross profits. He can be reached at [email protected] or 508-626-9200 or www.apb.cc.