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Elevating the car buying customer experience

In this blog we’ll explore why dealerships should try to maintain a human touch in the digital world, and how video can help do so.

As we discovered in our recent report “Understanding the modern-day buying journey”, the experience of buying a car isn’t what it once was.

Traditionally, the dealership, and dealers, were at the very centre of the automotive retail experience, but with the rise of the internet that all changed.

51% of buyers now start their journey online and 32% of buyers are open to the prospect of buying a car completely on the internet – cutting out the dealership all together.

Despite that, in a report published by PwC, 71% of respondents felt that a business’s employees have a significant impact on customer experience. Demonstrating clearly that human interaction is still a vital component of the customer experience.

In a world where Chatbots, AI and Big Data are taking over, where does that leave dealerships and OEM’s?

Staying human in a digital world

Digital technology has done lots to improve the life of the consumer, but in many cases it’s also damaged the relationship between buyer and seller.

An increasing disconnect has meant less face-to-face time with sellers during the buying process – leaving many consumers feeling like a number, rather than an individual. A scenario that’s likely to become more acute in the automotive industry as more consumers opt for increasingly digitised buying experiences.

And whilst this shift is primarily driven by the consumer, there’s a good reason for dealerships to try to maintain a human presence.

Consumers still want to be treated as human beings. So delivering that “personal touch” in an increasingly impersonal world is a good way to set you apart from your competitors – creating an emotional differentiator that’s much harder to undercut than price, or even performance.

All of this could have a real impact on your bottom line too. Research carried out by J D Power & Associates found that a good experience was the most important factor in a buyer’s decision to repurchase from the same brand. A topic we explored recently in our blog, “How digital tech can drive better buyer retention”.

Using video to your advantage

Although digital tech has in many cases led to less personal interaction between dealer and buyer, some technologies have helped increase it.

Automotive video bridges the gap between the consumer’s online and offline experience. Helping bring a level of personalisation and a “human touch” to the buying experience, but in the place the buyer chooses to shop, online.

Video allows dealers to put a face to a name without the buyer having to step foot in a dealership – building trust, transparency and credibility.

But whilst video helps bridge the gap, simply using automotive video isn’t enough.

As with physical interaction, both good and bad experiences can be created through video. It’s therefore vital that you create a good first impression. Check out our top tips to help you start off on the right foot.

People

Video helps connect buyer and seller, but ultimately it’s your employees that really create great customer experience – whether that’s through video or face-to-face.

Happy employees make happy customers, so making sure your staff feel looked after is an important step in delivering good customer service.

Offer your people benefits, such as shopping vouchers, discount schemes and flexible working. And in return, they’ll keep your customers happy.

Conclusion

Humanising your customer experience is a good way to connect with your customers. But it’s also clear that connecting with buyers on a human level in an increasingly digital world is easier said than done.

Tech such as automotive video is therefore likely to be an important tool as you try to connect with buyers. And making sure your staff are happy is a good way to make sure they deliver a good first impression when they do so.

But how do you know when you’ve achieved a truly personal customer experience? Well, when your customers are saying things like “I won’t buy from anywhere else”, you’ll know your on the right lines.