We all know someone who quit a bad habit “cold turkey,” but the truth is, habits are changed through the consistency of small, reliable steps.

Consistency is even more important when you’re working to change the behavior of someone other than yourself, e.g., your customers. And when it comes to customer behavior, the action we want from them is to buy, to return to our dealership, and to spread the word about their awesome experiences.

Luckily, consumers have come to expect a stressful car-buying experience. That’s lucky because it provides a great jumping off point for dealers who want to improve things! You can really shine in the eyes of your customers by making their experience a good one.

But why stop at good? These days, consumers expect an excellent experience, and the best way to give them that is through consistency at every customer touchpoint – online, in the service lane, on the showroom floor, etc. This creates a positive overall journey, which is certainly great for relationship building.

In its “The Three Cs of Customer Satisfaction: Consistency, Consistency, Consistency” article, management consulting firm McKinsey & Company detailed the findings of its customer satisfaction survey, saying, “The fact is that consistency on the most common customer journeys is an important predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty.”

Here are three ways your dealership can focus on consistency to create an exceptional customer journey:

1. Consistent Communication

Consumers often will write off a business if the deal or experience they’re promised doesn’t match what actually happens. Second chances aren’t always given, and for dealerships, getting it right the first time is especially important.

One of the easiest ways to keep your message to the consumer consistent throughout is to invest in technology that manages communication for you.

AutoAlert’s CXM (Customer Experience Management) platform incorporates data-mining analytics that create 100 percent personalized deals every day for relevant customers. It makes the deal known to the specific customer through a series of perfectly timed communications, including direct mail, emails, and a personalized landing page. If this piques the customer’s interest enough to call or come into the store, each of your employees is armed with all the info they need to corroborate the info and give the customer a consistent message. Deals are even made for customers in the service lane.

2. Consistent Reliability

One great way to establish reliability with your customers is to be upfront with them.

Respecting your customers’ time is great for becoming more reliable in their eyes. If a customer asks how long something will take – an oil change, a credit approval, etc. – it’s best to double your estimate of how long it will take, as we tend to think we’ll get things done faster than we actually do. Then, you can overdeliver and avoid disappointing them.

Or invest in technology that allows you to track how long each task takes over time so that you’ll have a more solid estimate.

Responding quickly to customer inquiries and feedback on social media is also important. Making it a goal to reply to both positive and negative comments within 48 hours is a great place to start. This will assure consumers that your dealership is available and reliable.

3. Consistent Friendliness

Having a team that’s knowledgeable and engaged fosters relationship building. If everyone in your store knows what’s going on with your customers and approaches every customer as a unique individual, imagine the effect that will have on the overall experience.

Staff members who have a reason to communicate with customers are much more likely to be friendly and engage with them, whether on the phone or at the dealership. Data mining provides the perfect reason to start a conversation with a particular customer, and CXM helps ensure that every employee has all the info he or she needs to do so at all times.

Just like any budding relationship, your relationships with your customers require consistent, attentive care to grow and become strong. This is one area where technology is particularly helpful for keeping your team on track and making your human interactions more personal.

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