With the advancements in the customer journey of buying a vehicle, automotive dealers in India face the challenge of reinventing the buying experience to meet the evolving expectations of customers. In the past, customers would directly visit dealer showrooms, gather information from salespersons, and make a decision based on that interaction. However, the buying journey has transformed significantly.
Nowadays, customers first search the internet for various vehicles, check online reviews on platforms like YouTube, and form a pre-decided mindset about the vehicle they want to buy. They then visit the dealer showroom armed with pre-gathered details to finalize their purchase. While the customer interaction time has reduced, it is crucial to acknowledge that buying from the showroom remains a significant step, as it is the moment when emotions run high and the actual purchase takes place. Therefore, the interaction between dealer representatives & customers is still crucial, and hence Auto OEMs and dealer principals continue to invest in enabling & upskilling their frontline teams.
We’ve identified five ways how automakers can further differentiate the buying experience and augment their dealer sales reps’ interactions
1. Immersive Experiences: Redefining Customer Interactions with Vehicles
To adapt to the transformed customer journey, automotive dealers must focus on providing immersive experiences that enhance the showroom visit. While customers now arrive with pre-decided preferences, it is essential to go beyond their expectations and leave a lasting impression. For example, BMW India has implemented virtual reality (VR) experiences in select showrooms, allowing customers to experience the thrill of driving their desired BMW model in a virtual setting. By immersing customers in a digital world, dealers can enhance their emotional connection with the vehicles and foster a sense of excitement during the buying process.
1. Seamless Online Presence: Facilitating Pre-Purchase Research
As customers now conduct extensive online research before visiting the showroom, dealers must have a strong online presence to meet their expectations. Mahindra & Mahindra, a leading Indian automaker, has developed an interactive website that provides detailed vehicle information, transparent pricing, and customer reviews. Their online platform allows customers to configure and customize their desired vehicle, enabling them to have a personalized experience even before stepping into the showroom. By providing a seamless online experience, dealers can establish trust and credibility, making the transition from online research to the showroom visit seamless and convenient.
2. Personalized Interactions: Catering to Pre-Decided Mindsets
Although customers arrive at the showroom with pre-decided preferences, it is crucial for dealer representatives to provide personalized interactions. Maruti Suzuki, one of India's largest automobile manufacturers, has implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) system that captures customer preferences and history. This enables their dealer representatives to have meaningful conversations with customers, understanding their needs and providing tailored solutions. By leveraging customer data and analytics, dealers can deliver personalized recommendations and offers that align with customers' pre-decided choices.
3. Empowering Dealer Representatives: Upskill, Enable and Engage
While the customer interaction time has reduced, the role of dealer representatives remains pivotal in ensuring a successful buying experience. Dealers should invest in upskilling and enabling their sales force to adapt to the transformed customer journey. Tata Motors, a prominent Indian automaker, conducts comprehensive training programs for their dealer representatives, focusing on enhancing product knowledge, effective communication skills, and emotional intelligence. Role-playing exercises simulate real-world customer scenarios, allowing representatives to practice objection handling and delivering exceptional customer service. By empowering dealer representatives with the necessary skills, dealers can elevate customer conversations and build trust with Indian buyers.
4. Building Lasting Relationships: Post-Purchase Engagement
The buying journey does not end with the purchase; it extends beyond that. Dealers should focus on building lasting relationships with customers by engaging them in post-purchase activities. Hyundai India, for instance, has a dedicated customer service team that follows up with customers, ensuring their satisfaction and addressing any concerns they may have. By staying connected with customers and nurturing the relationship even after the purchase, dealers can foster customer loyalty, encourage positive word-of-mouth, and drive repeat business.
In 2023, automotive dealers in India have the opportunity to reinvent the buying experience in response to the transformed customer journey. While customers now arrive at the showroom with pre-decided mindsets, the importance of dealer representatives cannot be overstated. By embracing immersive experiences, providing a seamless online presence, delivering personalized interactions, upskilling dealer representatives, and fostering lasting relationships, dealers can enhance the emotional connection customers have with the buying process.
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To make the learning experience more personalized, Master-O® empowers sales managers tap into various data points and analytics for coaching & upskilling their team. This gives sales leaders and managers much-required objective perspective to reimagine their coaching approach and realign it with performance metrics.
Master-O allows sales enablement leaders to create an immersive, user-centric experience for frontline reps 70% faster than traditional learning & enablement tools.