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Revving up!

Navigating the return to a push market in automotive retail

As the automotive retail industry shifts gears from a pull to a push market, particularly where new car supply, including electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned, focusing on customer needs and service levels must be top priorities – as indeed they should always be!

However, since the pandemic there have been many changes in sales teams and some will only know the scenario of limited supply and, at times, too many customers chasing too few cars. This situation can lead to complacency and a drop off in customer satisfaction – something the very best retailers have made sure doesn’t happen.

The following are all key factors in helping achieve consistent success in automotive retail sales – as ever all feedback and thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Ensure a customer-centric culture exists

Customers take the driver's seat, now more than ever, and as such they dictate demand. Embrace a customer-centric approach by understanding customer needs, preferences, and pain points – solve problems and find solutions! Listen actively, gather feedback, and adapt strategies based on customer insights. This must be led from the top and embraced by everyone in the organisation, whether they see their role as customer facing or not. Equally importantly there is no start and finish to this, it’s an ongoing process in this ever-changing world. Encourage open dialogue internally - who knows customer pain points better than those working at the coal face!

Go the extra mile

Exceptional service is the engine that powers success in automotive retail. Coach, train and motivate staff to provide personalised and knowledgeable assistance, creating an atmosphere where customers feel valued and supported throughout their buying journey. Acknowledge, reward, and share success stories so that everyone understands just what great looks like.

Make every interaction with your business, physical or digital, an extremely pleasant and easy one.

Ensure a seamless buying experience

Make the purchasing process a smooth ride for customers, however they choose to interact with your organisation. Eradicate the need for a customer to have to duplicate information if they choose to switch and swop between online and physical contacts. Digital tools and technologies can help massively but ultimately it is all about removing pain points and providing a service that works for the customer first and foremost. Every interaction should add value, minimise inconvenience and prove time well spent.  A seamless buying experience enhances customer satisfaction and encourages repeat business.

Have transparent communication at every stage

Build trust through transparent communication. Clearly convey information about pricing, promotions, and vehicle features - and their benefits to customers. Be clear about what can and can’t be achieved, not providing critical information until very late in negotiations can potentially undo all the trust that’s been built up. Honest and open communication fosters long-lasting relationships and helps customers make informed decisions. Authenticity is key here.

Know your product:

Make sure staff keep up to date with product knowledge. Most customers will have completed a great deal of background research before contacting you directly and will very often be the expert! Lack of knowledge, or even worse, trying to gloss over anything you are unsure of will eradicate trust. Use sales meets as an opportunity to discuss industry trends and evaluate product knowledge.


Use CRM systems effectively:

Implement robust Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to track customer interactions, preferences, and purchase history. Use of a CRM shouldn’t be ‘optional’ and effective use will lead to increased sales. How else do you gauge enquiry levels and spot trends….

Give just as much importance to post-sale support

The customer journey doesn't end with a sale; it's an ongoing relationship. Offer post-sale support, and follow-up communication to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty. Checking in with customers regularly builds advocacy and reinforces the fact that you really do care!

Review your online presence and engagement

Enhance your online presence with a user-friendly website, engaging content, and active social media profiles. Leverage these platforms to interact with customers and share updates. Ensure a process exists for dealing with all customer contacts in a timely manner. Your online presence should mirror your physical interactions with customers.

Encourage customer feedback

Establish and encourage effective feedback loops to gather insights from customers. Regularly assess their experiences through surveys, reviews, and direct feedback. Use this information to identify areas for improvement and highlight your commitment to continuous enhancement. ** Personalise the contact every time.

Empower employees

Empower employees to provide exceptional service. Invest in ongoing training & coaching and recognise and reward outstanding performance. Happy employees are more likely to deliver excellent customer experiences. Above all – be brilliant at the basics, because not everyone is.


A lot of the above information has been covered off in my previous blogs, but as 2024 fast approaches and with it a market where the customer has more choice than has been the case for a while, it really is important that the customer is at the absolute centre of everything we do!


If you feel R7 can help you deliver exceptional customer service and increase sales then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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