Trim Your Customer Experience to the Prevailing Wind


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Purveyors of luxury brands have been hit hard in this downturn. Luxury retailers, including car dealers, have seen their sales go down more than others over the past year. They ought to think about how they can deliver more value to their customers without eroding their brand image. I use a personal example to illustrate my point

I had to go in to my car dealer this morning for a routine maintenance visit. I own a luxury car and usually enjoy the white glove treatment I get when I am at this dealership. It so happened I needed a couple of extra things done on the car. The price quoted by the dealership for these minor things was exorbitant. In the interest of time, and because I did not want to have to deal with these issues later, I reluctantly agreed to having them do the work.

When the work was finished my “service advisor” came in and talked to me at length about what they had done. He then directed a lady to walk with me to the cashier (a distance of 15 feet), so I could pay my bill. She waited for me to pay the bill and then proceeded to walk me to my car which was right outside.

It occurred to me that part of my outrageous bill was going toward paying for this lady whose role added no value to my experience. I was very capable of finding the cashier as well as my car, both of which were visible from the advisor’s station. He could have just pointed them out to me.

I understand that this is the sort of extra special treatment that luxury brand customers may be expecting. However, I also have to wonder whether at times like this, retailers ought to be sensitive to the economic times and perhaps pull back on the frills while getting the job done and still delivering a great customer experience. The service advisor was courteous and helpful. I am not sure I needed the escort service. Next time, I might just take my car into the local garage for service (they do a great and offer a nice customer experience as well) and skip the dealer and their exorbitant fees altogether.

In times like these, service revenues keep dealerships alive. Retailers and other marketers must account for customer perception and be sensitive to customer feelings. Beware of killing that golden goose.

Naras Eechambadi, Ph.D
Dr. Naras Eechambadi is the founder and CEO of Quaero, a world-class data management and analytics platform empowering enterprises to integrate, discover and democratize their customer data. He is a life-long technologist and entrepreneur with over three decades in the software products and services industry. He has been awarded numerous distinctions as both a marketing executive and entrepreneur. Naras is also the author of a critically acclaimed book, High Performance Marketing: Bringing Method to the Madness of Marketing.


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