Accelerating the Car Buying Experience from Dread to Delight

Culture Accelerating the Car Buying Experience

Buying a car ranks among the most dreaded consumer experiences. In fact, more than 75% of consumers wish they could manage the entire sales process online (test drive not included). Overly aggressive sales tactics, and frequent poor customer experiences with pushy and deceptive salespeople contribute to this.  In some instances, you get exactly that, but many dealerships and salespeople provide a pleasant and caring customer experience!

Recent visits to two car dealerships emphasized the difference vision and culture can make for customers.

At the first dealership, my boyfriend and I encountered the stereotypical car salesman: sleazy and pushy.  Once we told the salesman that we were only looking and wouldn’t be ready to buy until our lease was up in two months, he lost interest.  When we asked if we could test drive the car, his response was: “only a quick one.”  He did not make us feel like a valued, or even legitimate, customer.  We left quickly after the test drive and headed to our next dealership – praying that it would not be the same experience.

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by a welcoming salesman.  He asked what we were looking for and after we described our specific needs he quickly knew he had the exact car for us – it had just arrived yesterday!  Although it took him a while to locate it, he was persistent in finding the car – even if a similar one may have sufficed.  Prior to the test drive, he never asked about a trade-in or  what he could do to get us to buy that day.  During the test-drive he sat back and let us explore the car, jumping in only with answers to our questions. He even suggested we “gun it” to see how fast it goes!  After the test drive, he helped us put our kids’ car seats in to make sure they fit and proceeded to demonstrate other features.  At an appropriate time he casually inquired about our purchasing intentions and didn’t balk after learning our time frame.

We went to his desk and braced ourselves for the sales talk.  We were upfront about our budget and requirements.  He took down some notes and left to speak with the manager.  When he returned, he was transparent with what the numbers would look like and asked if we would like to proceed.  The numbers didn’t match our requirements, so we said no.  He never once pressured us into making a deal and was honest about what they could offer. We left feeling good about the experience and with more knowledge about the car we wanted to buy – eventually.

Before we left, I noticed their mission statement on the wall:  “To create raving fans of every customer by providing an exceptional experience in an honest and uncompromising manner.”  This made me think:  that describes our experience exactly – it’s nice to find companies that actually live their mission and exceed customer promises.

This resonated with me because, at Corvirtus, we get the culture thing.  We work with companies to define their vision, including customer promises, and then align their hiring and talent processes with it.  It’s not who you hire, it’s what you hire.  To us, this means hiring and developing people that fit your culture.  In my car buying experience, this made a huge difference.  I look forward to visiting the second dealership again and have told several colleagues and friends about my experience, while I will avoid the first dealership – and have advised others to do the same.  In this way, culture is the difference that makes a difference for brand, reputation, and results.

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