5 ways to keep your dealership customers happy

The car dealership industry is changing and it's more important than ever to ensure that customers are satisfied with their service.

Every car buyer is different, but we've put together a guide to the top five ways to keep your customers happy and ensure you enjoy success regardless of the economic situation.

1. Speedy Responses

One key to ensuring customer happiness is to answer calls and emails promptly. Speed of response to communication can often determine whether or not a customer will opt for your business, or whether they will select another.

Jo McKeown, automotive business development manager at outsourced switchboard company Moneypenny, suggests that this change alone can be one of the top methods of ensuring happiness and continued custom. "An unanswered call can mean lost business – a new car or service enquiry gone elsewhere," she said. "Dealerships must understand that although they cannot see the other person on the end of the phone, they are just as important as the customer on the forecourt."

2. Personal Experiences

There are many ways in which a more personalised experience can be introduced into your business, and often this approach can have a dramatic affect on the happiness of your customers. For example, at Pebley Beach car dealership, the owners have embraced number plate recognition technology to make it possible for each customer be to be greeted personally.

The firm has also taken this personalisation one step further with the introduction of order tracking, which makes it possible for consumers to track their order from signing the contract to the final product check. Not only does this make it possible for car buyers to feel like they're being involved in the process, but it also reduces the amount of communication required to keep happiness levels at their peak.

3. Meet Customer Requirements

One method of increasing happiness is to try to understand what customers want and implement those changes into your business. One such want is the desire for many customers to have some form of activity to keep them busy while they wait for their car. At Swansway's six Audi sites, this desire has been met with the introduction of a breakfast initiative, which provides customers with breakfast while they wait for their car.

Some car dealers also provide reserved car parking spaces, so customers don't have to worry about where they will leave their car when they arrive for a service or a part exchange. The car is then moved at the earliest opportunity to make room for the next customer.

4. Remain Transparent

While you may understand your buying and selling process, it can appear daunting to those who are unfamiliar with it. To ensure your customers are happy you should remain clear and transparent about each step in the process, providing information about customer obligations and your own responsibilities from the moment they choose a vehicle to the final signing and hand over of the keys.

It's also important to be transparent about your motor trade insurance policy, which should cover all aspects of the sales process. Customers are more likely to be satisfied with the purchase process if they know they are covered at all times.

5. Combine In-store and Online

As technology becomes an increasingly important part of car dealerships, so dealers have the opportunity to increase customer happiness by introducing the latest tools to their business. While many customers still enjoy the personal service they achieve in an in-store dealership, many also want the majority of the buying process to take place online to increase convenience for both the customer and the dealer. By combining the two, you can provide customers with the best of both worlds and give yourself a better chance of meeting their requirements.