BY LAUREN LABUNSKY
Any dealer will tell you that customer experience is key to running a successful business. The way you treat your customers can make the difference between earning a sale or giving it away to a competitor. However, in the powersports industry it becomes even more vital to get customer experience right. Motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles are not necessary purchases – these are vehicles used for recreational purposes, and they are luxuries. People can and should be choosy about the dealership they buy their powersports units from, which makes your job as the dealer a bit harder.
An important thing to remember is that customer service is not the same thing as customer experience. Customer service is reminiscent of a single department or perhaps even a single staff member who handles unhappy customers. But the truth is that customer experience entails everything that a customer is exposed to in conjunction with your business – the interactions they have with all members of your team, the cleanliness of your store, the communication efforts they receive from you via phone or email, and even the experience they have visiting your website or social media platforms.
Taking the customer journey into account is important in creating a positive customer experience. The first interaction that a customer has with your dealership may not be in person, but online. In fact, that’s becoming more and more likely, as online access is more widely available through different devices and responsive design makes websites easier to access on the go. It may seem more logical to focus on the experience that a customer receives when they walk into your store – but in the event that your website, email, or social media page is their first stop, these digital platforms need to be prioritized, too.
Here are just a few ways to enable your dealership to serve the best customer experience both in-person and online:
- Train every employee to treat customers with kindness, respect, and a willingness to help – regardless of their position at the dealership. Empower employees to answer questions when they can, and to confidently respond if they can’t: “I’m not sure but let me find out for you!”
- Make store and showroom cleanliness a top priority – again, for every member of your staff. First impressions are important, and the condition of your dealership is a big piece of that.
- Meet with your team members on a daily basis to go over the day ahead: Customers coming in, purchases being made, and any other notable events. Keeping in constant communication ensures that everyone is on the same page, which makes any business run more smoothly – creating the opportunity to give customers a more pleasant experience.
- Ensure that your customers will have no issue accessing your website by building it on a responsive platform. This means that it will function properly on any device that a customer is using.
- Practice good etiquette in email marketing. Reach out to customers on a regular basis, but not too frequently – once per week for smaller businesses is generally regarded a best practice. It’s important that these emails are responsive too, as many people access email via mobile devices.
- Foster your relationship with followers on social media. Those who choose to follow you on these platforms want to interact with you, so respond promptly to comments and messages. Post updates that are fun and customer-focused, not always focused on advertising your bikes for sale.
The journey to purchase a powersports unit is usually a longer one, as they are an unnecessary purchase yet require a decent investment. People spend more time interacting with your business, either online or in-person, because they spend more time considering their purchase. This makes customer experience key to maintaining a successful powersports dealership.
Lauren Labunsky is the public relations manager at Dealer Spike, a leading web services provider for powersports dealerships. The award-winning digital advertising company is focused on helping dealers increase sales through powerful, distinctive website design and a full suite of online marketing tools to drive results. Dealer Spike’s expertise comes from real-world dealership experience and a team of professionals who also ride. When you work with Dealer Spike, you’re working with digital marketing experts who have a passion for your industry.