Those engaged in the automotive business are continually contemplating alternative methods to stay one step ahead of the competition. Automotive retail is a highly competitive market and one of the most effective modes of establishing and maintaining your advantage is creating exceptional customer experiences. So how do you engage your dealership network to improve customer experience in automotive retail?
Understanding your dealership network
It is essential to understand the needs of your demographic. Without an awareness and appreciation of your audience’s aspirations, you cannot expect to realise any true engagement with them. Thriving dealerships are busy places, and at the times of year for new registrations they often won't have much time for anything but selling.
For most automotive retail dealerships, a major indicator of success is customer retention.
According to research firm Marketing Metrics, it is 50% easier to sell to existing customers than to new ones. That is the reason dealerships work so hard to maintain their productive relationships with current customers. And researchers ICDP report there is close to a 50% increase in retained margin over the customer lifetime if cars are sold with a service package.
New customers are naturally an extremely significant addition to any client base, and have the potential for long-term business, but the pursuit of them requires an investment of time and money to attract them in the first place.
The demand for online learning has increased exponentially over the last few years. It has been utilised as an invaluable tool to train dedicated employees without them having to spend extended periods away from the workplace to attend courses.
Of course, a Learning Management System does not negate the necessity for classroom work, which is helpful in stimulating discussion, assisting with problem-solving and generating new ideas. But having a “blended learning” approach is ideal for the automotive sector where car manufacturers essentially need to be agile to adapt to the changing nature of the market.
Therefore, the right training must be accessible at the point of need to support sales, aftersales and technical employees within your dealership network. The ability to push essential training or compliance content through your LMS combined with the learning immersion experience a training academy delivers, will give manufacturers the competitive edge to lead.
Underpinning this with personalised learning zones and clear career pathways will not only increase adoption of learners but also deliver measurable value to them and your company.
By encouraging dealerships not only to sign up to standard brand learning contracts but encouraging additional learning with clear career pathway programmes or up-skill master classes you can nurture a learning culture with your dealership networks.
Dealerships are frequently limited for time. Therefore, the implementation of bite-sized training modules that can be accessed anywhere at any time, especially via mobile devices, are an efficient and highly effective way of ensuring staff engagement and development.
Furthermore, businesses often need learners to take training breaks, and the process of ‘bookmarking’ modules within a personalised learning zone allows them to do so. Once the online modules are completed within the LMS, you can offer traditional classroom-based lessons to reinforce information taken on board digitally.
Make sure your training programmes target the needs of the dealership network. Sales excellence and new product launch programmes within the right HR training technology will keep them connected with your automotive brand and empowered with the knowledge to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
We would recommend that you make full use of video as part of your eLearning curriculum if appropriate. It is a particularly powerful way of reaching, motivating and engaging with staff and its effectiveness should not be underestimated. It is also a proven technology within automotive service teams delivering outstanding customer experiences by incorporating video within the vehicle specifications.
Training courses that utilise progress milestones and a reward element are more likely to encourage those being trained, whether they are new employees undergoing orientation, or qualified sales and management staff involved with an advanced brand immersion experience. Engaging your employees with your brand through training is a fundamental part of learning as engaged employees deliver the strongest brand experiences to customers.
Effective training also requires accurate analytics and reporting. Ensure that successes by individuals and the dealership at large are widely shared. Listen to your training cohorts so you can adapt your training based on what truly engages and delivers the right results.
Creating the right learning environments through investing in the right LMS and training content plus maintaining an ongoing, open conversation with your dealership networks will give your brand that competitive market edge.