We define the customer journey as all the stops consumers make to get to a particular destination with your company. We’re talking about the entire experience from searching for a car to purchase and post-purchase.
You can’t improve customer experience until you look at the current customer experience through the consumer’s eyes. Mapping out the journey step by step helps you pinpoint what is working, what isn’t, and any gaps.
Customer journeys are commonly split into stages including consideration, purchase, post-purchase and re-engagement. This can make organizing the many touch-points easier, but don’t let silos contribute to an inconsistent customer experience.
Automotive consumers and their customer journey has moved much faster than the industry can to accommodate it.
Once upon a time, it was as simple as A to B. You wanted a car, you would drop into a dealership, take a look around and speak to the salespeople, do a test-drive, sign the papers, and drive away. You needed repairs, an MOT, or an upgrade, you’d simply head back to your trusted local dealer.
But the dealership-customer relationship has gotten a lot more complex. Rather than a straight line, it spans a web of hundreds of different online and offline contact points, or touch-points. As technology continues to evolve and consumers use more channels to find information and communicate with businesses, the journey will only become more complex.
Brand touch-points chart. Source: neilpatel.com
For example, consumers looking for a vehicle no longer rely on one dealership. They visit a combination of third-party websites like vehicle comparison and review websites, OEM websites, and dealership websites and sales floors. And this includes your current customers, who have easy access to competitors online.
Once consumers become customers, they expect dealerships to continue nurturing the relationship by following up, providing quality service, and continuing to give quick and relevant answers to their questions.
- Get to know your automotive following
We’ve talked about general automotive consumer trends. They paint a clear picture of what’s happening across the industry and can help business managers understand, at a high level, whether or not they’re on the right track for the future.
But to create great customer experiences, you must deeply understand the people that interact with your business—those interested in your offering, and those already loyal customers. This will help you adapt your customer experience to their reality and expectations. Essentially, that’s what customer-centricity is all about.
You can make a start getting to know your customers by answering these questions.
Dealerships are sitting on a mine of customer data—but it’s separated by silos. Every department holds valuable information about customer interactions for a particular stage of the customer journey.
We advise dealership managers to speak to teams across their organization to bring together existing data on the many instances customers-business interaction occurs. Specifically, create an extensive list of all the possible contact points between consumers and the dealership from the moment they enter the market.
It’s crucial to get a handle on what potential buyers and your customers make of the current end-to-end experience with your dealership.
This step will help you, on one hand, spot areas that keep consumers hooked and, on the other, diagnose the root cause of any current issues along the customer journey. You can finally start to understand why potential buyers drop off before purchase, or why seemingly satisfied customers choose to buy their next car from a competitor. Learn more about Spectrums AI This is insightful stuff and you need to know it to fix it.
Go back to your customer journey map. Speak to your team and analyze customer engagement data to pinpoint the stages that drive positive action, like making a purchase, or negative action, like losing a buyer or customer to a competitor.
But there’s another way to understand customer behaviour: asking customers for feedback. Businesses often shy away from the direct approach, but this is the single biggest way to get to the bottom of what’s working for prospective buyers and customers—and what ain’t.