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June 2020
9 Min read
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Automotive Mystery Shopping.
The Other Side of Test Drive

Natali

Journalist, PR-manager, content creator

Automotive Mystery Shopping.
The Other Side of Test Drive
6 votes

Under the conditions of the high growth rate of the automobile market, the main share in the dealership’s profit structure was occupied by new car sales. Currently, the dealerships realize the significant contribution of service to the total profit volume. 

On average, a client buys a car once in three years and visits the service center once in eight months. Consequently, for one visit to the car showroom, there are four visits to the service center. The interaction between a customer and a car service center forms a consumer journey map and determines the customer’s attitude towards both the dealer and the car brand represented by this dealer. The experience of contacting a car service center forms the clients’ preferences regarding the purchase of a car and becomes crucial when choosing a brand of the next car.

For car manufacturers, the issue of service is a priority in cooperation with dealers and is reflected in the brand development strategy as a whole. In order to find out which standards influence the quality of customer service at the dealership, we conducted a cx research using the example of a well-known car brand and established a correlation between the fulfillment of service standards and their impact on the customer attitude.

Call the Dealership

At the stage of calling, customer satisfaction is primarily affected by the standards of organizing further meetings. If after clarifying all the formalities a client was offered to visit the salon, then the standard can be considered fulfilled, and the client is more likely to agree to visit the center for a car test drive. The correlation coefficient is 65. If this standard is neglected, the correlation coefficient will be -39, which means that a client will not accept an invitation to visit the center.

Appointment via E-mail

When making an appointment via email, the most important criterion is the ease of contact with a dealer. That is how quickly a live person gets in touch with you. Another important factor is how well the dealer was able to fulfill a specific client request. An automatic reply to the email does not affect customer satisfaction at all. 

Product | Service Presentation 

At this stage, it is very important to highlight the features and benefits of the product (or service) provided in accordance with the established qualifications. In the case of 100% compliance with this standard, the satisfaction index is 50. In the case of neglect of the standard — -67. Here the employee’s performance plays a special role, his presentation, and knowledge of the range.

Remarkable Customer Experience

The first and the most important standard that affects customer satisfaction when visiting a dealership is aware of the client’s personal data. After the consultant has clarified the guest’s name, it is necessary to ask about his basic needs, as well as offer drinks. According to the majority of respondents, in order to remember the visitor experience from the positive side, the sales consultant should surprise pleasantly: offer assistance, be well-prepared for the consultation.

Personalized Service

According to the correlation analysis, in order for the consultation to be individual, the sales consultant must carefully determine customer needs, namely, for what purposes the car is purchased, what characteristics it must have, what additional accessories are required. All issues related to the definition of needs greatly affect the satisfaction of individual service. 

What About the Purchase?

Our results show that the quality of consultation and the experience gained during the visit are directly proportional to the desire to purchase a car.   

Every appeal and visit to the car dealership of an automobile company should leave a pleasant impression, and a client should get valuable experience.

Another point that we’ve learned in the course of the customer experience research is that the satisfaction with the dealership consultants’ work is not affected by either gender, age, or day of the week when the consultation is held.

Dealership Center Consultation

How to Improve Customer Service

The better you serve your clients, the longer they stay with you, the more they are ready to spend and recommend you to their friends. At the same time, you often do not need huge financial or technical resources to improve the service. 

1. Continuous staff training

In order for the quality of services to be at a decent level, the staff should be very well aware of all the product details, sales techniques, and general principles of customer service. Each employee might conduct a meeting with a client, and he must know how to get prepared for it and how to behave. Conduct seminars and training, publish customer service rules for all your personnel, not just for those who are directly involved in service.

2. Evaluation of service quality in a company

Any improvement in customer service rules is impossible without an analysis of the current service level. The company should constantly conduct researches and implement improvements. Companies can test their products and services or carry out their own marketing research using ‘mystery shopper’ program. In order to provide mystery shoppers with an opportunity to easily evaluate a product, surveys or checklists can be used. Checklists can contain all sorts of questions about mystery shopping service.

Mystery shopper services allow you to assess compliance with customer service standards, the honesty of employees, their technique of sales, stress resistance, meeting the visual standards. With the help of a secret shopper program, you can check the quality of service. You can do it yourself, or you can turn to the mystery shopper agencies.

3. Invest in new technologies

Most organizational issues can now be solved through the company’s Internet resources. Online services are designed to support customers. With customer experience analytics, it is easier to find a suitable model, learn technical specifications, consider the interior details. According to some forecasts, by 2020 there will be 6.1 billion smartphone users in the world. Many customers will search for information about your company, and even wish to order goods or services directly from their mobile device. We recommend you to develop an application where customers can track their orders and payments in their personal accounts. If you have already had it, make sure it works properly. For this, test the app for usability and various bugs. You can do it yourself, or you can apply to crowdtesting platforms such as 4testers.

4. Be always available for your client

The company’s contacts should always be in a visible place. An opportunity to order a callback on the site is an additional way to retain a customer. Respond quickly to the requests by email. Even if it is impossible to solve the client’s issue now, let him know that you have received his request and will answer it within an hour, for example. Give the client an opportunity to contact the first person in the company. Retailers often use this method. The ability to reach out to the management helps to increase customer loyalty and demonstrates the company’s openness.

5. Be honest with your clients

Refuse the project if it is not within your area of expertise. Admit your mistakes. All of this shows that you are developing, learning, getting stronger, and not chasing any money, but are a true specialist in your field. It also helps to improve NPS and marketing strategy of the company.

To receive an order from a corporation, and fail to fulfill your obligations due to lack of resources and competence. What could be worse? The most valuable thing a company has is its good reputation. If it is lost once, it can’t be rebuilt.

Customers do not disappear into the blue: your lost customer today is your competitor’s customer tomorrow.

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