Automotive: Three Ways to Leverage Assembly Wait Time

Customer Experience

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Customer Experience
Axel G. Heyenga

Posted on 09-29-2016

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