New car sales reached an all-time high in Britain in 2015 as improving consumer confidence, wage growth and low-interest finance deals from manufacturers boosted the market, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which provided the figures.
In addition to the record performance in 2015, the market is due to get even more competitive in 2016. Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS, the analysis and forecasting group, said falling petrol prices could help car sales grow further in 2016.
The bigger picture
This analysis highlights the importance of getting the customer journey right from beginning to end so that brands can differentiate themselves in an ever increasingly competitive space.
Touchpoints, the occasions when customers interact with your organisation or brand, matter but what is more important is the bigger picture: your customer’s end-to-end journey.
Customer churn is a given in the automotive industry and ways of keeping customers are well known, such as upgrade offers and financing deals. But it’s much more cost-effective to bring back an existing customer. What makes a customer keep coming back to a particular brand or a specific dealer, and helps you build a competitive advantage, is their entire customer experience.
And what builds a great customer experience is not the individual interaction with customers but the sum of those interactions across multiple touchpoints and multiple channels.
It’s time to move beyond the satisfaction survey
Automotive brands have a lot of customer satisfaction survey data at their fingertips, and it’s time to use this data to incentivise your dealers to provide an improved customer experience.
The best channel incentive programmes improve knowledge of products and increase your team’s confidence to sell additional items such as finance agreements, warranties, servicing, and parts while ensuring that your dealers focus on getting the right deal for their customer.
But channel incentives shouldn’t start and finish with the sales team; they need to include all the staff within the dealership if you are to provide an exceptional customer journey right from start to finish. For example:
- Do the premises look professional and clean?
- Does the receptionist give a friendly welcome?
- Are the sales team informed about products and services to ensure they get the right car and deal for the customer without being pushy?
- Does the servicing department ensure the work is completed to a high standard and the car is returned clean and on time?
See how Volvo used channel incentives to improve the sale of particular vehicles and accessories by over 30%
With the automotive market becoming more and more competitive, car manufacturers and their dealerships need to be even more committed to customer satisfaction and providing an excellent customer experience. After all, it’s the all-round customer experience that sells the car and keeps customers coming back.