4 Ways for Dealerships to Create a Transparent Customer Experience

February 12, 2021 John Kehm

At the core of any great relationship is trust and transparency. So, it makes sense as businesses around the country (car dealerships included) determine how to best adapt to changing buyer journeys and find new ways to create more transparent customer relationships. 

Why is transparency important in a dealership team?

Today’s buyers are more informed than ever on every aspect of car buying – with more options on where and how to purchase. Looking at these factors combined, it’s clear why dealers need to focus building trust with their customers. This is further highlighted by a recent survey that found 91% of consumers say “trust” is important to them when deciding which dealership to purchase from.

Dealerships need to push their teams to become more transparent. Whether it’s how vehicles are priced, where a trade-in value came from or any other question that pops up during the sales process, customers expect a transparent customer experience – and are often equipped with enough information to know instantly if they can trust your sales team. 

Transparency builds trust, and trust sells cars. In an industry plagued by a poor reputation and consumer skepticism, offering your customers transparency during their car-buying journey empowers dealerships to stand out among the competition and decreases negative expectations many customers have from previous buying experiences. 

By fostering a more transparent dealership customer experience and building trust, dealers are not only more likely to attract and convert customers – they’re also more likely to keep them. Research from Google finds the number one influencer of brand loyalty is a buyer’s experience with the dealership.

Consumers in today’s marketplace need to feel they can fully trust your dealership at every step of their journey, from the manufacturer your dealership represents to the service techs who will perform routine maintenance. 

While every dealership’s process and values are different, providing a transparent customer experience is key to building authentic relationships and trust. Here are 4 simple ways to dealers can build customer trust  

1. Personalize every aspect of the experience.

Building trust starts with a genuine personal connection with each consumer.  Researching a new vehicle requires a hefty amount of time and energy, so it’s important to respect a customer’s investment by doing your homework prior to connecting with  advanced digital marketing tools. 

Some dealers blindly call leads as quickly as possible with nothing more than a name and phone number, which forces the customer to repeat key steps in the process, negating the time those consumers spent researching. It’s crucial to meet customers where they are and acknowledge the efforts they put in online, which includes referencing the source they came from, confirming their vehicle preferences and offering details.

2. Be authentic. 

Shoppers already spend endless time on various online platforms interacting, researching and engaging with countless brands. Instead of being just another brand, focus on establishing real connections with customers through authentic and honest communication. 

Task your team with establishing a sense of openness and accessibility when communicating with customers using the formats your customers prefer. When shoppers believe you’re approachable, you’ll automatically create transparency through communication.

3. Be clear with pricing and financing options.

Shoppers searching for information online are primarily interested in finding accurate pricing and financing options that suit their unique needs. According to a recent IHS Markit survey, securing F&I products ranked among the top five customer touchpoints auto buyers would like to find online. 

By offering customers online options for transaction touchpoints like configuration, price negotiation and financing, dealers empower buyers with a more complete view of their buying and financing options, promoting a more transparent customer experience and simplifying the overall buying journey.

4. Simplify the customer experience.

Buying a car has long been considered a less-than-enjoyable experience for customers, which offers ample opportunity to dealerships who trade in those archaic practices and streamline their sales process. In fact, one industry study found a whopping 72% of customers said they would visit dealerships more often if the buying process were improved.

To make the experience better, think about convenience from a customer’s perspective, analyzing common customer qualms for opportunities to improve. For example, if you were out buying a car, you would appreciate any steps you can take to shave time off the lengthy buying process. Consider some dealership customer experience best practices like offering haggle-free pricing, or speeding up the process by offering online credit applications and pre-qualification forms.  

Establishing a transparent customer experience means much more than putting your prices online. It needs to become part of your dealership’s culture. Interactions and processes that speak to customers’ concerns will leave them feeling assured and, in turn, turn them into loyal service and sales customers. By creating a transparent customer experience, dealerships can build lasting relationships by establishing themselves as a true resource to their audience – a go-to when it’s time to buy or service a vehicle.

Interested in learning how Mastermind can help strengthen your dealership’s sales process? Contact us for a free demo.


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