How to Improve the Customer Experience for Car Buyers

Improving the customer experience for car buyers is critical for both dealers and OEMs—it’s the easiest way to maximize retention and boost long-term sales. But how do you do it? Here are 3 best practices.

Customer experience for car buyers

If you want to improve the customer experience for car buyers, you need to understand buying a new vehicle is more than a transaction.

It’s the start of a long-term relationship. 

The stronger the relationship, the more likely a customer will come back when it’s time to buy another new car.

Consumers evaluate their relationship with carmakers and dealers using two criteria:

  1. The quality of the vehicle purchased.
  2. The quality of the care and service. 

However, it’s that second point that’s worth paying close attention to. It means consumers purchase an experience in addition to a car. 

With that said, here are 3 ways to improve the customer experience for car buyers. 

Develop automotive marketing campaigns focusing on care

Automotive marketers need to help dealers and OEMs sync purchase history with key marketing channels. If they do, it will make it easier to stay connected with previous customers. Moreover, it will make building a promotion schedule around expected maintenance (e.g. oil changes, tire rotations, timing belt replacements, etc.) easier too.  

Being proactive in recommending maintenance is an easy way for dealers and automotive brands to show legacy customers they’re cared for and appreciated. It’s also an easy way to get old customers back on the lot, assess (in-person) where they are in the buying cycle, and—if appropriate—entice them towards the purchase of a new car via lucrative offers and incentives (e.g. trade-in deals, 0% financing, etc.). 

Invest in website personalization for dealers and brands

These days, automotive consumers expect more of the car-buying process to happen online.

So, OEMs and dealers need to improve the digital customer experience for car buyers. That process starts with website personalization.

Through site personalization OEMs and dealers can deliver personalized content and creative that adapts (in real time) to the interests and lifecycle stage of individual customers. In other words, a curated site experience makes retaining (or growing) a customer base easier. It gives automotive consumers a reason to engage and keep engaging for the long term. 

The best way to achieve website personalization is through an AI-powered personalization engine. One that ties anonymous website visitors with known consumer IDs pulled from a data cloud to increase conversions via in-page and site overlay personalization.

Turn them into brand advocates

No marketing campaign will ever outperform word-of-mouth marketing. Therefore, the greatest thing an automotive marketer can ever do is transform existing customers into brand advocates. 

To kickoff the transformation process, marketers must make a habit of engaging with customers at regular intervals using targeted, intent-driven, personalized communication. 

These marketing messages can be passive (service reminders, holiday greetings, etc.) or they can be as aggressive (custom offers, special promotions, etc.), as long as they’re relevant and personalized to the recipient.

Delivering this kind of communication will maximize customer satisfaction and the likelihood of retention. It will also increase the chances of referral-based new car sales (e.g. friends, family, etc. of the original customer).

Looking to learn how you can improve the customer experience for car buyers?

To learn more about the current state of the automotive industry, please get your free copy of our latest eBook:  

Assessing The Impact of Coronavirus on the American Automotive Industry. What’s happening in the industry, how brands are adapting, and where automakers need to focus moving forward

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