Improving the Customer Experience – One Banana at a Time


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Above is an actual picture I snapped at my local dealership today.  Cool idea.   As I write, I’m sitting in the waiting area having taken my car in for service.  The dealer principal tells me the idea of putting out fruit came from his wife.   She didn’t like donuts.

In this vein,  I would encourage you to look at your dealership operations through your customers’ eyes   Visit your stores, go into competitive dealerships, see what they’re doing – all with the intent of looking through new eyes as to what your customers are actually experiencing.

One practical note.    Be careful what your people are saying behind the service counter or walking across the showroom floor.   So far I’ve heard about a ‘difficult’ customer in a less than flattering tone, a technician who was harshly told that he performed something wrong, and a problem that occurred when a customer took delivery of their new car.   I really shouldn’t hear this stuff.

It doesn’t just happen at car dealerships.  I regularly fly into Windsor airport on the way to Detroit and it’s amazing what people talk about very openly (and loudly) in the lounge area waiting for their plane.   It’s  interesting what you can pick up in the way of competitive intelligence.

Sticking with the theme of looking for new ideas to improve the customer experience, in a posting last month I wrote about the vehicle delivery tower at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany.   This is the facility that delivers between 400 and 500 vehicles per day.  I mentioned it because it makes the delivery experience stand out for customers, something which we know statistically can increase overall customer satisfaction.    Even though a ‘regular’ dealership wouldn’t be able to afford something like that, I was sent a posting by a colleague in our UK office that is worth sharing.

If you go to the top of the posting, it shows a customer video that captures their new car being brought up through the showroom floor on a lift.  Take a look at the comments.  Looks like it plays well and customers tell customers.

We get jaded working in the industry.  We tend to forget how special it is to a customer when they take delivery of their vehicle.   Make the delivery special.   If it’s good, they tell everybody and that can only be good for business.

Until next time.


Republished with author's permission from original post.

Chris Travell
Chris Travell is VP, Strategic Consulting for the Automotive Group of Maritz Research. He is responsible for working with Maritz' Insight Teams to further the understanding and application of the firm's automotive research. He has appeared on numerous television programs and is often quoted in Automotive News, Time, USA Today, Edmunds, Detroit Free Press, The Globe and Mail and various other publications in regard to issues related to the North American automotive industry. He is the principal contributor to The Ride Blog, Maritz Research's automotive blog.


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