What do customers want?

Shop till you drop is the order of the day for this Christmas, whether you plan to buy that big LCD TV or toaster or luxury new car, the first priority of any customer would be to be treated as VIP wherever he goes not only by the salesperson, but also by the retail store. The first sales experience sets tune to the whole shopping experience. When a customer does not find services up to his expectations or treatment, the usual course of action is that he shops elsewhere with the same comparable price.

According to a survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, automotive brands are loosing around 12 percent of buyers to competitors due to poor customer treatment at dealerships. It was revealed that one in four buyers’ experienced sales pressure from their selling dealer which makes it clear that dealers need to be attentive to customers without exerting unwanted sales pressure. In this survey, approximately 48,000 new-vehicle buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicles in May or June 2009 were studied and the customer responses were analyzed on the basis of dealership facility, salesperson, paperwork/finance, delivery process, and vehicle price.

The Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) in the above study indicated that more than one in five shoppers leave a dealership without purchasing a vehicle because of poor or discourteous treatment meted to him or due to dealer performance issues such as pricing games, or sales pressure tactics. It was found that 43 percent of these buyers ultimately purchased from a different dealer of the same brand, 57 percent decided to purchase from a different brand altogether which means a 12-percent loss of retail sales of the industry as a whole to other brands.

The study concluded that on a 1,000-point scale, the overall satisfaction in 2009 averaged to 836 points, up by 11 points from 2008 with the greatest improvements in the service of salesperson and in the delivery process. Salespeople now are notably helping buyers stay within their budgets and in negotiating prices while dealers are providing complete explanations of the vehicle features and owner’s manual.

Experts opine that it is critical that potential buyers are not pushed out of the dealer’s door due to a poor customer experience. Since, billions of dollars are spent by automakers in designing, producing and marketing new vehicles, and advertising to attract customers to showrooms, each shopper is important in this difficult economy. Manufacturers and dealers should give importance to all shoppers, whether they purchase or not because a shopping experience always remains in a buyer’s mind and their shopping memories include not only of the selling dealer, but also of all the other dealers they visited.

One response

  1. @Danielle, you appear to know what you’re talking about. Would you care shooting me your e-mail? I would like to chat more with you.

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