A new car is expensive and is one of the few high-cost purchases people make throughout their lives. Yet, with such a high-cost product, many car companies continue to provide a transactional, product-centric approach, missing out on the benefits of an improved consumer experience.
Even though organizations are massive in size and reach, car companies have been slow to make the investments needed to push digitization across all departments of their business.
Car Companies Struggle on Consumer Experience
Brands that started investing in how they engage with their customers via digital channels have managed to gain popularity points with consumers and manage to get ahead of the competition.
Consumers already live in the online medium and automakers that fail to be there where their audience is, struggle to deliver the customer experience that is expected.
Maintaining the Connection
According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Automotive Consumer Study, 60 percent of consumers stated they were never contacted by the manufacturer after their purchase and 25 percent of customers never hear from the dealership afterwards.
The consumer relationship should start with the sale — not end abruptly. With ongoing support, car dealerships can build brand loyalty and show customers they are valued. As the purchased item is more expensive, the customer is more likely to reflect on the decision in the aftermath. Brands need to make sure their customers made the right decision.
Customers Expect Personalized Experiences
When looking for a car, customers will research and gauge the reputation of a dealership the same way as choosing their preferred manufacturer and model. Over half of U.S. car buyers have checked a dealership review on Facebook alone and 64 percent of consumers have decided to go with a different dealership based on an online review.
Furthermore, customers now expect a personalized experience when buying a car. Customers will ultimately pick one dealer over another by actively looking for positive touch points.
Online Presence across Several Channels
On average, a car buyer spends around 10 hours over a period of three months researching which car to buy. During this period, they will likely switch between online to offline channels and expect to have a seamless experience when interacting with the brand.
As a consumer moves from the initial consideration phase to the final purchase decision, brands that want to be at the top of mind for their consumers need to take a strategic approach across different channels.
Addressing Pain Points
A test drive remains a critical aspect of the buying decision process and waiting times are a major pain point on the customer journey. Social channels and an online presence can help solve this with online invites and reservations.
According to Deloitte, 40 percent of U.S. car buyers think that the actual purchase process takes too long and 57 percent say that the worst thing about going to a dealership to buy a car is the overwhelming amount of paperwork.
With customer’s data already collected in earlier phases of the customer journey, paperwork can be done in advance, in online forms, and information could be forwarded to the finance provider. By embracing digitization, the consumer buying process can be significantly streamlined and their experience improved to leave a lasting positive impression.