"Transparency, Speed" Quickly Becoming Consumers Preferred Recipe
Time is increasingly seen as a most valuable asset.
Lincoln. Lexus. Now Hyundai. With more to come.
We are officially in the age of disruption.
With the majority of car shopping now taking place online, America's auto retailers are embracing new processes to get buyers in the door to create incredible customer experiences.
A recent Autotrader study revealed that customer satisfaction decreases as the amount of time a customer spends at a dealership increases. Currently, the typical negotiation takes an average of 21 minutes and as long as 41 minutes, making it potentially the most time-consuming variable in the vehicle buying process.
Improving the entire in-dealership experience
As consumers expect an ever-faster and more efficient experience, retailers can't afford to stay put. As a result, all departments are wise to adapt to new ways to increase transparency and respect the valuable asset of time.
The focus on time continues to gain traction. And this carries through to the overall process of going through the sales and service experiences.
Lincoln, seeking to stand out among larger luxury brands, now provides free pickup and delivery of service vehicles to new owners.
“It’s the single most important item we’ve done in some time,” said Ed Witt, owner of Witt Lincoln in San Diego. “For customers today, one of the things that they value the most is their time."
A fundamental shift
Lexus recently introduced Lexus Plus, which seeks to revamp the luxury dealership experience with the promise of fixed, transparent pricing and a single point of contact with customers, throughout the entire dealership experience including service. They currently have 13 stores in the program out of 237 nationwide.
Greg Kitzens, Lexus General Manager of Future Initiatives, says the. slow uptake is understandable. After all, he says, Lexus Plus isn’t designed to be an experiment where dealers jump in and out. It represents a fundamental shift in how dealers interact with customers.
Rising customer expectations are the driving force
Hyundai Motor America plans to roll out a new nationwide retail program by the beginning of 2018 that is aimed at reducing new-vehicle transaction time and increasing price transparency for its Hyundai brand.
The program, called Shopper Assurance, features four components that Hyundai hopes will not only streamline the buying process but will also boost sales in a retail market that is putting an increasing amount of value on time.
"We've just been looking for a while at how customer expectations are changing in the industry," Dean Evans, chief marketing officer for HMA, told Automotive News ahead of the announcement. "We're always looking forward and saying, 'How do we change our business to interface with what's happening around us?'"
Proper infrastructure is critical
"The key is moving away from the consumer experience being constructed around price to sharing your story of why you are a “one price model” retailer, and how your buying process works," says Cindy Reynolds, CEO, and Founder of Beyond One Price, a retail consulting group, based in Franklin, Tennessee.
"It’s a different mindset with individual retailer facts and an opportunity to control your volume based on interactions, not just transactions. There is no quick fix. Once again, without an upgraded infrastructure to support it, it leaves wide-open spaces for consumers to be frustrated once again."
"It takes relentless attention to the vehicle buying, servicing and hospitality details plus a purposeful, intelligent process with a genuine human connection, creating an enjoyable customer experience," says Reynolds.
For more details on Lincoln Service Valet: https://owner.lincoln.com/how-tos/vehicle-care/pickup-delivery.html
For consumer information on Lexus Plus: https://www.lexus.com/lexusplus/
For consumer information on Hyundai Shopper Assurance: https://www.hyundaiusa.com/shopperassurance
For further information on Beyond One Price: http://beyondoneprice.com/
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