Advertisement
Find a Car
Go!

More Than Ever, The Car Dealership Experience Matters


Car shopping

Car shopping

Enlarge Photo
In an ideal world, car shoppers could research models, arrange financing and insurance, negotiate a trade and even arrange home delivery of their new car from the comfort of their living room. Visiting a car dealership would be reserved for test drives and for picking up the odd maintenance item, like an oil filter or a bottle of touch up paint.

While many dealers are close to this level of online sophistication, none are completely willing to embrace the internet as a replacement for floor traffic in dealerships. As Mark Bonfigli of Dealer.com told Ward’s Auto (subscription required), “the dealership experience matters.”

That may hold true even more than in the past. Prior to the internet age, a dissatisfied customer would complain to friends, neighbors and relatives about a negative dealership experience, reaching perhaps dozens of people.

Today, thanks to the popularity of social media and message boards, a negative experience can reach thousands of people instantly. In other words, auto dealer customer service has become even more critical than in years past.

The challenge for dealerships is attracting and retaining sales staff who are customer-focused, internet savvy and knowledgeable about product. Given that car sales is traditionally a high-turnover job, the new demands simply make a bad situation worse.

As we more closer to online car buying, dealers will need to be more proactive about providing real-time inventory tracking as well. As many car shoppers will tell you, cars shown in online inventory don’t always appear on dealer lots, contributing to a negative perception of a particular dealership.

What does it mean for consumers? In the future, car dealerships will need to be more consumer-focused than ever before, while online customers will be able to complete more of the buying process from the comfort of their own home.

We all win with an improved car dealer experience. You’ll never be able to test drive a car with a mouse and a keyboard, but you’ll be able to complete the rest on the process online soon enough.
Posted in:
Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (8)
  1. amazing... all the car Execs need to do is take their own car into a dealerhsip to find out where the weak link is in the whole process. It is not the quality of the vehciles- it is the service that is the problem. The fact that most of them hav enot seen or worked with a dealership or "store" in decades is an indicator on how disconnected they are.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

     
  2. I agree that things would improve tremendously if all mid level & senior managers would have to buy their own vehicles and deal with the service of the vehicles just like all consumers do. They lost touch with reality when they started getting company vehicles serviced at the company garage.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. I find that my experience in the dealership has changed very little over the past 20 years. While it's definitely a plus to research prices and models online, the car buying process is still one of the most exhausting experiences. I've never been able to get out of a dealership in under four hours. It seems that these days there is a big push to prepaid maintenance. I've had some dealers tell me that it was required for lease vehicles. Since my last purchase (a used vehicle from a dealer), I've decided not to purchase from them again.
     
    Post Reply
    +1
    Bad stuff?

     
  4. Comment disabled by moderators.

     
  5. "there are good honest stores with integrity out there".

    They are far and few left these days because the profit margin on new cars has become less and less or so the rumor is. From what I understand more money can be made in selling used cars than new.......unless that's just a rumor also :-)
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  6. Sorry to hear abou your bad experiences. Not all dealers are like that now. Some actually have express sales to help expedite the process. I'd just encourage you to do some research on the dealerships next time before looking to buy because there are good honest stores with integrity out there.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  7. I'm thinking that everyone knows this except the dealership :-)
    I can't think of a place that has higher turn-over rate than sale people at car dealers save for Wal Mart :-)
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  8. I've bought a disturbing number of new cars over the years, in just about every region of the U.S.. Overall, my experiences have been positive, but only because I did my homework in advance and have a strict "no BS" policy. I have gotten up and walked out in the middle of a transaction, which is why I'm careful to retain possession of things like my car keys.

    I recently bought a 2011 VW GTI from a local dealership, and I can honestly say it was the best car buying experience I've ever had. The good dealers are still out there, but it isn't always easy to find them.
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement
Try My Showroom
Save cars, write notes, and comparison shop with hi-res photos.
Add your first car
Take Us With You!
   
Advertisement

 
© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.