The car buyer journey includes everything from the initial inquiry about available vehicles to the sales process and finally to the post-purchase experience. A smooth customer journey ensures customers have a positive and memorable experience with the dealership, leading to customer loyalty and greater profitability. As such, it is important for car dealerships to focus on creating an effective customer journey in order to promote customer satisfaction and ultimately increase sales. In this article, we will explain how dealers can benefit from an optimized customer journey.
What Is the Customer Journey for Car Dealerships?
The customer journey, in general, involves every step in the process of a customer acquiring a product or service, ranging from recognizing the problem they need to solve to using the item after purchase. Thus, it is not a decision made on a whim but rather a journey of becoming aware of and evaluating different options before eventually choosing one. For a car dealership, the customer journey is a method to observe and analyze how car buyers interact with their brand while purchasing a car. This analysis can help dealers pinpoint what elements of the journey are the most influential and how they can be improved to increase sales and customer loyalty.
Why Is the Customer Journey Map Important?
The journey should not be seen as a string of linear steps but rather as a combination of dynamic stages that shape the customer’s experience of buying a car and their feelings afterward. A customer journey map, a graphical outline of a customer’s interaction with a business, will be very handy for car dealers since it gives an understanding of what a potential customer requires at all stages of their journey and which elements either positively or negatively influence their progress. According to Salesforce and PwC Network, 80% of customers consider their experience with a company to be as significant as its products, and about 60% will abandon their loved company/products after bad experiences. A customer journey map allows marketing, sales, and service teams to have a clearer understanding of each step. This can reduce issues arising during the journey and ensure your leads and customers have the best possible experience.
How to Optimize the Customer Journey for Car Dealers?
If customers have a perplexing or difficult experience, you risk them shifting their loyalty to a competitor. This happens at all stages of the customer journey, from brand awareness to brand loyalty. Thus, it is important for dealerships to optimize the customer journey and create a seamless and positive experience at every stage. Here are some strategies to optimize the customer journey for car dealerships:
- Establish a strong online presence:
According to Google, 92% of car buyers research online before they buy. So, the customer journey often starts online, and it’s important to have a strong online presence. Dealers need to have a user-friendly website with detailed information about their car inventory, including engaging images and videos, because 64% of shoppers are influenced by online videos and 360-degree photos. Also, the website should be mobile-responsive and easy to navigate. J.D. Power research indicates that half of the new-car Internet buyers are utilizing the convenience of a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone to research and locate the perfect vehicle for them at the most affordable price.
Car dealerships should also make the most of search engine optimization (SEO) and drive more traffic organically to their website when potential customers search for relevant keywords. Additionally, creating social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube helps dealers showcase their inventory, engage with customers, and run promotions or contests.
- Use personalized communication:
Personalized communication can help customers feel valued and heard. Car dealers need to collect and store customer data such as name, phone number, email address, and preferences in their customer relationship management (CRM) software to keep track of customer interactions and find the lookalike target audiences. They can also tailor customer communication in online and offline marketing campaigns based on this information and boost conversion rates.
- Streamline the car buying process:
The car buying process can be complicated and time-consuming. By streamlining the process, dealers can create a more positive customer experience. For example, offering online financing pre-approval or online trade-in valuations will reduce the time customers spend at the dealership and can expedite the purchase process. Also, providing transparent pricing information and breakdowns of fees and charges will avoid surprising and disappointing customers at the point of sale. Furthermore, dealerships can provide more flexible conditions for a test drive to make it more convenient for the customer.
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