Focus on the Long Term
1. High demand/low availability drives price increases.
2. How we manage those increases determines retention and future market share.
Many of us have seen this play before! In the early 80’s, I was a UCM at a Toyota store. For about a year, cars were scarce and mostly sold by order. We took advantage of the demand in ways that cost us 2x in the following market.
We ‘dressed’ every car up at the port, and we got really good at bumping the prices and cutting the trade evaluation at delivery. Our customer succumbed after their 2-month wait for their vehicle…but never forgot. When cars were available again, we learned about payback in a big way. We lost service retention as well as sales retention, our marketing budget went crazy as we tried to regain what we once had. And this was before the power of social media. Sound familiar?
For the rest of this year and likely a good part of next year, new vehicles will be in high demand, and used vehicles will cost more every month.
Your customers will remember for a long time how you manage this process with them. Now is the time to focus on making the customer experience a great one!
Be Responsive and Speedy
Be willing to give control
This is the right time to spoil your customers!
Get them through the buying process in an hour or less. When setting first and all service appointments, offer loaners or pick up and deliver. Build or adhere to your delivery process that is customer centric, and use it 100% of the time to 100% of your customers. Earn your Google Review, don’t leverage it.
Consider going public, beyond just marketing, use your social media experts to write articles and blogs about the new demand from automotive customers, and get the word out that they matter to you.
One of the most remarkable turn arounds in customer experience is Comcast in the last 5 years. They started it on the inside by making the employee experience a great one...and their profits are up 85%.
Don’t run from change just because the old way worked!
As always, what you do next will determine your future. It's hard to make real changes while you’re counting your money, but it’s worse when there is less to count!