Competition is high in the auto industry. Consumers have numerous options and choices and they can quickly find a new business if one doesn’t entirely suit their needs and wants. If you want to stand out and create lasting relationships with consumers in the auto industry, you need to provide excellent customer experiences. Find out how to attract attention, build loyalty, and give customers what they want, so they find and continue to return to your auto business.

Create Customer Experiences for Each Phase of the Buyer’s Journey

To deliver excellent customer experiences, provide useful services and resources through each step of your target audience’s buyer’s journey. A buyer’s journey is the path that a customer follows to make a purchase. Hubspot outlines the buyer’s journey in three stages.

  1. Awareness. The customer realizes that they have an opportunity they want to pursue or a problem or challenge they want to solve. (A customer is aware that their car isn’t working properly.)
  2. Consideration. The customer has clearly defined their problem or opportunity and now they are now looking for specific solutions to help them achieve that goal. (A customer knows they need an oil change to make their car function better. They consider if they can do it on their own or pay for the service.)
  3. Decision. The customer knows what solution is best, and they are they determining which specific service, product, or brand to use. (A customer decides on paying for an oil change service. They must select which business to use to for their oil change.)

To create excellent customer experiences, consider each phase of this process and develop a way to serve customers during that period.

  • Create customer experiences in the awareness phase. Consider what problems your services or products solve. Then ask yourself how you can serve and connect with people who are realizing they have that problem. If you have an oil change shop, you could publish an article like, “How to make your car run like new for years to come,” and explain the benefits of regular oil changes.
  • Create customer experiences in the consideration phase. Help your target customer as they begin to research options for solving their problem. The oil changing shop could provide guides and videos on how to change oil and highlight the ease of hiring someone to do it as a service instead.
  • Create customer experiences in the decision phase. Guide customers as they determine which vendor or product will provide the best solution to their problem. The oil shop could share customer reviews on their website and highlight the unique features of their store (such as comfortable waiting areas, TV in the waiting room, or free coffee).

By going through the buyer’s journey for your specific offerings, you can define ways to provide helpful customer experience in the automotive industry for each phase of your customer’s purchasing process.

Stop Selling, Start Helping

A study on the “State of the Connected Customer” conducted by Salesforce, reported that 76% of respondents said it’s critical or very important for salespeople to be “focused on helping achieve their needs, not just on making a quick sale.”

This is especially true in the auto industry where customers tend to be skeptical. Creating excellent customer experiences in the automotive industry relies on your ability to build trust with your customers. You need to show them that your priority is to help, not make a sale or get a commission.

To stop selling and start helping:  

  • Guide instead of push. Introduce customers to products and services that will solve their problem. Authentically show the pros and cons of their options so consumers can make educated decisions on their own.
  • Provide resources. Show customers that they don’t have to take your word alone. Share product reviews, customer testimonials, buyer’s guides, and in-depth demos that give customers the resources they need to make educated purchasing decisions. Use engaging multimedia and digital signage content to deliver useful information in your store.
  • Speak your customer’s language. Many people that enter an automotive business are not experts, so don’t talk to them like they are. Break down complex terms and specifications in a way that they understand. Don’t make them feel confused or uneducated by using phrases and terms they’re unfamiliar with.
  • Never mislead. It should go without saying that you shouldn’t make claims that you can’t back up. Any incorrect statement or exaggeration that you make will likely be called out by your customer. Tech-savvy customers can and will look up the claims to double check all of the facts, so always be 100% factual and truthful.

In the Salesforce study, 79% of respondents said it’s critical or very important to interact with a salesperson who acts as a trusted advisor, not just a sales person. Approaching sales from a helpful standpoint can create excellent customer experiences in the automotive industry.

Utilize Omni-Channel Marketing

Customer touchpoints now expand from brick-and-mortar locations out into a variety of digital touchpoints. A customer doesn’t just experience a brand while visiting the business. They experience it through social media, websites, and apps.

If you want your automotive business to stay relevant, you need to create customer touch points in multiple places, both online and offline. Embrace omni-channel marketing and build a cohesive customer experience that flows from in-store touchpoints to digital touchpoints.   

Create digital platforms that serve customers as they aim to learn more about your business, schedule a service, check on the status of their service, shop for products, etc. And, make sure each of those touch points has the same look so customers always feel connected to your brand.

Build Lasting Relationships

To create excellent customer experiences, stop thinking about the people who come in and out of your store as faceless consumers. Start thinking about them as individuals with unique needs that you can personally help.

Customers don’t want a mass-produced customer experience. They want a personalized experience that values them as an individual.

If you don’t provide that type of connection, customers will find a brand or business that will. The Salesforce study found that 66% of respondents said they are “extremely or somewhat likely to switch brands if they feel like they’re treated like a number rather than an individual.”

You must focus on building lasting relationships with your customers by creating personalized experiences.

  • Create customer profiles. Collect data from customers so that you can track their purchases and services and better cater to their needs.
  • Segment your customers. Once you build out customer profiles, use the data to segment your audience into categories. Send messages based on segments to ensure you are only sending relevant content to customers.
  • Reward loyalty. Show customers that you value their relationship by giving them rewards, discounts, and special offers for continuing to do business with you.
  • Follow up. When a customer makes a purchase for expensive products (like a new car) or services (such as costly repairs), don’t collect the funds and move on. Follow up with the customer to make sure they are happy with the results and show that you care about providing the highest level of customer satisfaction.

In the automotive industry, customers have many options, and they know that. If a business doesn’t suit their full needs or provide the experience they expect, they will move on to find another business that does.

If you want to compete, you can’t settle on mediocre customer service. You must create and provide excellent customer experiences in the automotive industry if you want to attract and engage consumers.

For more tips on how to keep up in this competitive industry, download our ebook “How to Create Exceptional Customer Experiences Using Audio and Video” below!