Created on Friday, 15 April 2011
What makes a new car dealership great? Is it award-winning cars and trucks? Outstanding customer service? A dazzling new state-of-the-art facility?
Determining the excellence of any business depends upon the measurement of various criteria, who is collecting and analyzing that data and how it's applied. Simply put, here are 10 points you can use to measure automobile dealerships for yourself.
1. People. Most industry experts would agree that staffing is the key indicator. Properly trained and highly motivated employees help a dealership build relationships with customers, suppliers and colleagues (the lifeblood of any successful business). They work as a team to satisfy their customers.
2. Reputation. An old maxim says it takes a lifetime to earn a reputation and an instant to destroy it. Dealerships invest considerable resources building their reputations, anticipating that customers will patronize their stores repeatedly and send referrals. A reputation is like a business's calling card: it forms an impression of the enterprise and its core values.
3. Products. A well displayed selection of new and pre-owned vehicles reflects the image and brand(s) offered by a particular dealer. Strong product displays make a powerful statement about the business and the automaker represented.
4. Marketing and Branding. Progressive dealerships will re-invest a large portion of their revenues in differentiating themselves from the competition. A popular brand commands loyalty and respect in the marketplace and supporting it contributes towards the growth of the business. Pre-eminent dealers support their brands with heavy local advertising.
5. Accessibility. A dealership's physical location is as important as its virtual storefront. By virtual, I mean digitally accessible. More customers are connecting with dealerships via the Internet (social networking sites, email, and live chat).
6. Facility. Many auto retailers offer amenities and services that are the envy of other retail enterprises. Comfortable lounge areas, Internet connectivity, available refreshments, drive-in service reception and guest shuttle services are a few of the benefits that distinguish current automotive retailing in this customer-driven age.
7. Ambience. The atmosphere at a great dealership is indefinable, and yet unmistakable. When employees are proud of their work and are eager to go the extra mile for customers, it shows. There is a positive, energetic vibe in the air, and it's infectious.
8. Community Involvement. New car dealers are among the top supporters of community organizations and charitable endeavours. They are pillars of the communities in which they serve and are heavily involved with local sports and charities.
9. Industry Awards/Recognition. Dealer staff, individual departments and a specific franchise of a manufacturer often receive industry acclaim for meeting various marketing objectives. Better retailers also earn recognition for design, environmental and architectural achievements (i.e., ISO and LEED certification).
10. Sales and Service. Selling and properly servicing a vehicle is more challenging today than it was in the past. Sales and service teams today consist of well-trained people who speak multiple languages. Extensive product knowledge and proficiency with new technologies will also help to enhance the relationship.
All in all, these criteria are what define a great dealer and provide a satisfying experience for customers.