customer experience

Removing Effort and Friction: Part 2

Dealers need to remove effort and friction for their customers. It should not be difficult for customers to work with us digitally or in the showroom.



In Part 1, I shared a customer’s story of the five-hour challenge when they transitioned from a digital shopping process to the dealership. In that case the customer made a U-Turn and went back to digital and found another dealership to do business with – but it didn’t have to happen like that. Today’s dealer must accept the challenge of aligning their team around removing effort and friction for the customer. That means aligning the process, accountability and even compensation around the idea that it must not be difficult when the customer works with us digitally or in the showroom.  

Let’s put some non-negotiables on the table:

  • The digital process starts without us involved – the customer is in control
  • Digital communication must be easy and innovative beyond email templates
  • Phone communication must think beyond getting an immediate appointment
  • Helping the customer move their buying journey forward is the key
  • A frictionless transition means preparation and finishing their journey 
  • The sales, F&I, and delivery processes must align to benefit the customer 

The days of a 10 step RTAS (road-to-a-sale) have to be abandoned. Yes, I know what I just said is going to make many people upset but the fact is that the customer today designs their buying journey and attempting to force them into the old traditions will not work. Today’s sales teams must know how to learn about their buying journey, where they are in that journey and then to build value by helping the customer finish the journey. Anything less makes the customer have to work harder and deal with the friction.  

Today’s sales, management, and F&I team must be prepared to navigate a winding road as the customer’s journey. Salespeople need the skills to properly answer questions like: 

      • I got three web prices for my trade in – will your number be the same as these? 
      • I calculated my monthly payment based on your price, trade-in value from CarMax and info from my credit union website – will your payment be the same? 
      • I want to calculate my payment – what will my final out the door price be for the vehicle? 

The combined selling team must be aligned to win the business without refusing to answer the hard questions. In today’s market we know that if we refuse, we lose and the next dealer who will help them will win. Refusing to work on trade value as Brian Kramer of Cars Commerce and Accutrade says, is “inviting your customer to sell their trade to Carvana or CarMax and reduce your inventory and profits.”  

Salespeople have to be able to facilitate modern relationship building by learning to use email, video, pictures and text in blended ways. Connecting with a customer today means new ways of building trust, asking questions and then delivering value. After that they have to know how to create agreements with the customer to move their journey forward and when the moment is right to create a dealership visit experience. Notice the word experience and not visit – today’s customer finds value and pays for experiences and not visits that fight their buying journey. Vehicles they come to see have to be clean and ready for them to see and drive and we cannot avoid these things thinking they may not show up.  

We have to partner with F&I better – it’s just that simple. If we want to support strong PVR and product sales it means we have to be ready for an integrated experience that doesn’t make the customer’s life harder. We must prepare our sales team to support the process with great answers to questions and strong transitions to the F&I team. And once all of that is done, we must continue to think about creating experiences with the delivery. You may not be willing to do the things that a Saturn dealership did in the 90’s but you have to be willing to do more than walk around a vehicle and help them connect their cell phone to the Apple Play.  

Experience, along with reduced effort, will ensure strong front- and back-end profits because it is the new measure of value for a customer. As dealers and GMs, it will take your focus to align the team, train the new skills and create accountability processes that drive success. There’s help out there as well – at Quantum5 we were built to do exactly this mission. We’ve built the industry’s most advanced learning technology to create experiences with dealership teams that drive consistency. And our content is the leading-edge process for enabling success with today’s customer buying journey – from email to phone to text to in-person. Best of all – we provide a money back ROI guarantee – training that walks the talk!

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