Talking Tech with Your Customer

tech with your customer

From the moment you wake up in the morning, to the moment you go to bed, you’re probably using some kind of technology. Who would have thought that gadgets would become so central to our lives? Experts say that technology is even changing our brains. If that’s true, we may be less and less resistant to its pull.

Changing the Way We Think

It’s no surprise that some people feel like technology is running them. In fact, Ford’s 2018 Trends Report found that 37 percent of adults worldwide believe technology already does too much of their thinking.

Technology is transforming our world in a big way, cars included. The old internal combustion engine is starting to look decidedly shaky. Now, it’s electric or hydrogen, autonomous or semi-autonomous – even cars that fly.

But Does the Tech Work?

When customers buy a car today, it probably comes equipped with advanced driver assistance technologies (ADAS). What this means depends on the manufacturer and the vehicle. But it may include adaptive cruise control, brake assist, blind-spot monitoring, and more.

However, a recent J.D. Power survey found that technology glitches are all too common across the auto industry. Most common are misunderstood voice commands or Bluetooth phone pairing. In fact, electronic problems pushed the problem average up from 152 to 156 per 100 vehicles. That’s 1.5 glitches in the average vehicle, which means some vehicles have no problems, but others have a lot more. This result is the worst since 2015.

What Dealers Can Do

Next time a customer comes in and asks about technology, look at it as an opportunity to build trust.

1. Give a simple demonstration

Drivers like to experience technology when they go for a test drive. Find out which features really matter to them. While everyone can read an owner’s manual, they probably don’t want to. This is a golden opportunity to show, not tell.

2. Use language they understand

Calling an airbag an Air Cushion Restraint System is confusing, but automakers say it. Every brand has its own “dictionary.” Surely, automakers should get together and start naming features in a standard way – but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

3. Explain the difference between autonomous vs semi-autonomous

An MIT study found that people had no idea about levels of autonomy (0 to 5) and struggled with different branded terms. What’s an Intelligent Cruise Control compared to Active Cruise Control? Is a Pilot Assist the same as Driving Assistant Plus? Even the word “assist” was tricky – they didn’t know if the system was assisting drivers or the other way around.

4. Explain privacy in the context of connected vehicles

Dealers must help customers understand the risks of connected vehicles and the possible impact on driver privacy. Automakers can’t control the many plug-ins added to their vehicles.

It’s probably safe to say we’re pretty far away from self-driving cars if we can’t keep our phones paired.

Understand, or Overestimate

In the end, drivers will come to understand new automotive technologies much better than they do today. But until then, you can provide a good service by educating your customers and becoming a resource for them.

Ultimately, if you’re on top of technology, you can help your customers get on top of it too.

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