4 Pain Points Your Automotive Customers Are Having Right Now

Digital Marketing

In the last year I’ve doc­u­ment­ed my own car-buy­ing jour­ney along with the pain points I’ve expe­ri­enced and what could be done to improve the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence in rela­tion to those pain points. Dur­ing this time I’ve also been work­ing with Deloitte Dig­i­tal on a recent­ly released study that aimed to do the fol­low­ing:

  • Define the stages and touch­points of the cus­tomer jour­ney.
  • Iden­ti­fy major pain points with­in each stage of the cus­tomer jour­ney.
  • Present painkillers, or solu­tions, to those pain points with a focus on dig­i­tal solu­tions.

Here are some of the major pain points found in this study across the 5 phas­es of the cus­tomer jour­ney.

  • Lack of per­son­al­i­sa­tion. The lack of cus­tomer-spe­cif­ic infor­ma­tion and options is present across a num­ber of the dif­fer­ent phas­es. In the ini­tial infor­ma­tion phase, it man­i­fests as an inabil­i­ty to con­fig­ure mod­els accord­ing to spe­cif­ic cus­tomer needs. Cus­tomers feel lost in the mul­ti­tude of options avail­able and find it dif­fi­cult to con­fig­ure a vehi­cle that fits their unique needs. At the deal­er­ship, cus­tomers feel that inter­ac­tions are imper­son­al and that their best inter­ests are not being served. Add-ons offered dur­ing pur­chase are per­ceived as being com­pli­cat­ed or unnec­es­sary, and post-pur­chase fol­low-up usu­al­ly con­sists of a bar­rage of imper­son­al, untar­get­ed ads.
  • Lack of guid­ance. Cus­tomers often feel over­whelmed by the amount of infor­ma­tion avail­able to them when they first start look­ing for a car. What they need is some­one who can help them reduce the com­plex­i­ty of the infor­ma­tion and guide them through the process. The amount of infor­ma­tion avail­able on the Web is often unstruc­tured and too tech­ni­cal and results in the cus­tomer feel­ing lost. Web con­fig­u­ra­tors should be easy to use and designed to help users quick­ly find a vehi­cle based on their per­son­al wants and needs.

Dur­ing the pur­chase phase cus­tomers are look­ing for guid­ance and con­fir­ma­tion that they’re mak­ing the right deci­sion. They’re also look­ing for exper­tise from the deal­er about the specifics of the con­tract num­bers and terms. They need to feel like they are being tak­en care of instead of being tak­en advan­tage of.

  • Lack of con­trol. Cus­tomers today want to be more in con­trol of the car buy­ing process. They’re not inter­est­ed in high-pres­sure sit­u­a­tions where they’re encour­aged to sign some­thing they don’t ful­ly under­stand. Deal­ers today need to be trans­par­ent through­out the process by for­ward­ing quotes and offers to the cus­tomer, giv­ing them the time and space they need to review the con­tract and to ask any and all ques­tions they might have.

Anoth­er phase where the cus­tomer feels a lack of con­trol is dur­ing han­dover of the car. This phase is usu­al­ly filled with stress­ful wait­ing peri­ods where the cus­tomer doesn’t know the sta­tus of their car or when they will be able to go and get it. They may be using alter­na­tive trans­porta­tion or mak­ing oth­er sac­ri­fices until the car is avail­able, and not know­ing the sta­tus of deliv­ery can be very frus­trat­ing. Cus­tomers need clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion dur­ing this crit­i­cal phase to feel more in con­trol of the process.

  • Lack of appre­ci­a­tion. Accord­ing to the study, “sell­ers under­es­ti­mate how sen­si­tive their cus­tomers are when it comes to feel­ing val­ued and being treat­ed accord­ing­ly.” It goes on to say that cus­tomers “described sales staff, the deal­er­ship atmos­phere, and relat­ed inter­ac­tions as arro­gant, cold, schem­ing, and pushy—all in all as con­vey­ing a lack in ser­vice-ori­en­ta­tion.”

Once the car has been deliv­ered, cus­tomers feel like cus­tomer appre­ci­a­tion falls off dra­mat­i­cal­ly. This could be fail­ing to fol­low-up with the cus­tomer on their lev­el of sat­is­fac­tion with the pur­chase. Or it could be fail­ing to help iden­ti­fy new needs for the cus­tomer, over­load­ing them with adver­tise­ments, or sim­ply fail­ing to inter­act with the cus­tomer at all. Deal­ers need to con­tin­u­ous­ly engage their exist­ing cus­tomers to keep sat­is­fac­tion high and help iden­ti­fy new prod­ucts or ser­vices that they might need.

The way that cus­tomers want to go about the car-buy­ing process is chang­ing. The amount of infor­ma­tion avail­able to them is both a great advan­tage and a road block to a sat­is­fy­ing expe­ri­ence. Deal­ers need to re-think their role with­in this process and look to alle­vi­ate the pain points that are often the result of deal­ers not adjust­ing their strat­e­gy to meet the needs of the chang­ing con­sumer.

Con­se­quent­ly, it is up to the OEMs to define this new role for the deal­ers and to pro­vide them with the data, knowl­edge, and tech­nol­o­gy to enable their suc­cess. They need to ensure deal­ers are pro­vid­ing a per­son­alised expe­ri­ence that takes into account the unique needs of the indi­vid­ual. This includes train­ing the sales staff and incen­tivis­ing them not just on num­bers but on pos­i­tive expe­ri­ences as well.

The sales staff needs to be taught how to guide the cus­tomer through their jour­ney, pro­vid­ing expert advice along the way and giv­ing cus­tomers the space and time they need to feel more in con­trol of the process. Final­ly, they need to under­stand how to make the cus­tomer feel appre­ci­at­ed through­out the entire expe­ri­ence, from their first touch­point all the way through to their next pur­chase.

This type of per­son­al­i­sa­tion can be achieved through the use of inte­grat­ed dig­i­tal solu­tions that cap­ture infor­ma­tion for a sin­gle, com­plete cus­tomer pro­file and enable more con­trol over when and how busi­ness­es com­mu­ni­cate with their cus­tomers. For more infor­ma­tion on this study, check out the link hereCar buy­ers want to be in the driver’s seat.

Digital Marketing
Axel G. Heyenga

Posted on 01-13-2017

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