After months of shopping around and documenting my journey I finally bought a car! I am currently in the assembly phase of the purchase and expect to have the car sometime in the next month and a half. I’ve been very excited to get it and, like most car buyers, seem to see my new car everywhere on the road. I’ll be driving along when out of the blue I’ll see my new car—maybe it’s not the same color or it has a different trim, but I see it and I can’t help but smile.
At least at first. After a while I started to wonder … where is MY car? Is someone building it right now? Did I make the right decision? Do I have everything I need for it? Where do I want to go in it? With no follow-on from the dealer or the OEM during this time frame, it’s easy to come up with a lot of questions about your new purchase. This lack of communication likely stems from the deal being closed and the business moving on to the next customer; however, the assembly time frame is a missed opportunity for dealers and OEMs alike to provide further value to the customer.
- Follow up with me … please
The first way to improve the assembly waiting period is to simply follow up with your customers and address any questions they might have about the car or the contract. A phone call or an email giving the status of the assembly process would go a long way in alleviating any buyer’s remorse that might creep into a customer’s mind. Brand perception is built throughout the entire car buying process, and leaving your customer without any contact for several months during the sales process doesn’t help a customer feel valued.
- Tell me something useful!
Now that the dealer or OEM is following up with the customer during the assembly wait time, they should use this contact as a way to offer other products or services that are available for the car. Providing information on products like car racks or other accessories, services like oil changes or car washes, or even travel incentives for destinations within driving distance are cross-selling opportunities that can be delivered in an informative way. Programmatic advertising can even be used to pull in information about the customer in order to market to them with profile-specific products and services.
- Add a personal touch
We all know that many of the highest-end autos out there are hand built. However, I’ve noticed that more brands are beginning to add a personal touch to their vehicles. A car I recently saw had a stamped plate in the engine block that bore the name of the person that built the engine for the car. Adding a human element to this experience can have a lasting impression on the car’s owner. Even an email with a simple photo of the engine being dropped into the actual car that was purchased creates brand loyalty and even advocacy as the customer shares the photo with coworkers and on social media. A little interaction can go a long way toward retaining customers and building long-term brand loyalty.
No more missed opportunities
In the end I think that the time between signing a contract and having a vehicle delivered is a huge missed opportunity for car dealers to build better rapport with their customers. Simple updates on the assembly status and recommended accessories are a good way to keep them informed, build brand loyalty, and create cross-selling opportunities for the business or its partners. Without this type of interaction, customers can be left feeling forgotten and undervalued, which can damage their overall experience. Adding a personal touch brings a human element in an industry that can often feel impersonal. If dealerships and OEMs can share relevant information gained throughout the sales process, they’ll be able to connect with customers on a more personal level. This not only increases clients’ satisfaction with their overall experience, but also provides opportunities for the dealership to suggest other products or services that are directly applicable to a specific customer.