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How to Create an Exceptional Vehicle Delivery Experience

Creating a delivery experience that is more enjoyable for the customer will ensure that they go home on a positive note & will help create lifetime value.

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Over the past decade or so, the technology equipping our cars has gotten increasingly more advanced (some might even say more complicated). Because of this, some dealerships have started to hire delivery specialists who focus primarily on the vehicle delivery experience. Not every dealership can do this though and the task is the responsibility of the salesperson. Often, the more expensive the car is, the more bells and whistles it has. When you add in new vehicle technology like hybrids and EVs, there is even more to know about each new vehicle that can feel overwhelming for some salespeople. Fortunately, this post will help outline how you and your dealership can make the vehicle delivery experience even better. 

For new or average salespeople, the vehicle delivery experience might be somewhat intimidating, especially for a vehicle you’ve never owned or have limited experience with. If you’ve never had a full dashboard display with all sorts of Bluetooth connection capabilities and seat adjusters, it might feel foreign at first, but this post will serve as a helpful guide to get you started. 

Bare Minimum 

  • Connect the phone: At the bare minimum, salespeople need to be able to connect the customer’s phone to the car (as long as the customer wants that!) and show them how to use the display with the phone connected. 
  • Adjust the clock: Be sure to set the clock to the right time if it isn’t already. If you live in an area with time changes, the customer should be shown how to adjust the clock themselves too.  
  • Set some radio presets: Setting the customer up with their favorite radio stations is a nice bonus too, especially while you’re showing them how to use the terrestrial/satellite radio.  
  • A/C and heat: Show them how to control the temperature settings, defrosters, and use any extras like heated seats. 
  • Wipers, lights, blinkers, and flashers: Though these are somewhat consistent on a lot of cars, there are often little differences that will warrant a quick demonstration, especially because the customer will need to start using them immediately. 
  • Adjust the mirrors: Show the customer how to adjust the mirrors so they are ready to go when they drive off the lot. 
  • Garage door openers: Does the customer have a garage? If so, show them how to connect the garage door openers so they can do it themselves when they arrive home. 

Most dealerships set the bar at the basics (radio, clock, A/C, etc.) but we believe this is setting the bar much too low and there is a whole world of opportunity to delight your customers at the end of their buying journey. Furthermore, shoppers shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good experience. The customer buying the Kia or Honda should have the same good experience as the person buying the BMW or Porche. If we want to conquest customer loyalty, knocking it out of the park with the delivery experience will help leave a positive lasting impression with your customers. 

Middle Tier Delivery Experience 

Beyond just connecting their phone and their garage door opener, we get to an elevated vehicle delivery experience. Part of creating this elevated delivery experience is the salesperson’s responsibility and part of it is the dealership’s responsibility. We can't expect the salesperson to self-fund balloons, to have an indoor delivery area, and so on. These are things that should be part of the overall dealership process for vehicle delivery (if the dealership chooses to do them in the first place). From an experience standpoint, let’s start with the small things that you should be doing regularly: 

  • Thank you note: Every car should have a hand-written thank you note from the salesperson. Even better, the sales manager and finance person sign it as well. 
  • Business card: Each vehicle should include the business card of at least one tenured person in the service department who can establish a long-term relationship with the customer as service needs arise. 
  • Video links: The majority of new cars come with both a written and a digital owner’s manual so you can learn how to install your spare tire, new wipers, etc. You could have a text message or email ready that includes links to the 5 most common things drivers need assistance with, just in case the customer needs them afterwards. 

Now, ask yourself, how do we make the delivery experience even more memorable? For starters, there shouldn’t be anything in the car that the customer doesn’t know how to use by the time they leave (assuming they’re not trying to leave the dealership ASAP). 

Top Tier Delivery Experience 

Dealerships can go above and beyond by offering everything mentioned above as well as taking some extra steps. 

  • Indoor delivery area: Dealerships should have a specified indoor delivery area that includes A/C and heat so customers can take delivery of their car without being out in the elements. This room should be nice and clean and help create some excitement. 
  • Presentation pizzazz: Dealers can step it up another notch and have the vehicle waiting under a sheet to be unveiled dramatically, with a big red bow, accompanied by balloons, etc. Dealership management should be there to thank the customer and share their sense of gratitude for the customer, their new vehicle, and for shopping with them. 

What We Need to Stop Doing at Delivery: 

  • Rushing: Unless you notice their body language or the customer states that they want to get out of there quickly or don’t need all the info, delivery is not supposed to be rushed. Take your time and clearly go through all the steps on your checklist. 
  • Acting inconvenienced: Stop making the delivery experience seem like an inconvenience. This is an incredibly exciting (not to mention expensive) time for your customer, so it should feel special for them. You should echo their excitement. 
  • Outside deliveries at night: Vehicle deliveries that happen outside in the darkness of night may not be as thorough as some things may be harder to see, it may be cold out, etc. A daytime delivery should be preferred unless the customer wants something different. 
  • Neglecting the details: As the salesperson, you need to make sure that everything is exactly right with that vehicle. People deserve to take the car home running well, clean, with no lot damage, and have all the included extras (cup holder inserts, trunk privacy cover, etc.). Nothing is more annoying than having to call and go back to the dealership later for these things. 
  • Leaving it up to the salesperson alone: Managers need to get up out of their desks and participate in the delivery experience, so it becomes more personal for the customer. 
  • Not preparing the customer for what’s to come and not following up: This should not be the last time that the customer hears from the salesperson. At the end of the delivery experience, the salesperson should let them know that they’ll be following up in 4 days to see if they have any questions about the vehicle or if they forgot any of the details from the delivery. After that, let them know you’ll be in touch again in 45 days to make sure everything is going smoothly with the vehicle. A 6-month post-purchase anniversary phone call/email is a nice touch too. We have to make a commitment to explain the follow-up process and stick with it. 

Creating a delivery experience that is more fun and more joyful for the customer will ensure that they go home and feel that the experience was way better than they expected. Ending the car shopping journey on such a positive note will help your dealership create lifetime customers. We all know how important the lifetime value of repeat customers is and a good delivery experience will help do just that.

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