What do your customers think? Admin In the Media (0) This is a more important question than you might first realise, or at least think about. But once you break it down and begin to understand what you could learn from knowing what your customers think, including their perception of your dealership, you begin to realise how little you might know, and also how important it is to consider.In most instances, we assume a customer had an amazing experience with us, otherwise why would they have purchased from us right? This can be true, but more often than not there will be a combination of reasons as to why a person purchased from one dealership over another.At the recent Google Engage Auto presentation, a study of car buyers was referred to, which found the average buyer in New Zealand now only engages with 2.4 dealerships and test drives only 1.7 vehicles before buying. This tells us that once a customer is ready to go from digital to dealership they have generally picked out only 2-3 dealerships to visit.At this early stage of the purchasing process, it is likely these dealerships are on a level playing field, simply by having the right car in the right price range for that customer. So what makes someone begin to choose one over another?Simple answer: the experience they have. As a dealership, you want to do everything possible to ensure a customer has an experience that will greatly influence their decision to buy from you. This is why it’s important to learn from your past customers and better yet,compliment that with trying to understand why a customer didn’t buy from you. Achieving this will give you a very good source of information to work from and improve your businesses success.Focusing on customers that have purchased from you will certainly be easier (you have their contact details) and likely lead to more constructive feedback. This could be in the form of a simple survey.Begin by asking exactly what experience you and your staff delivered to them. Try to get insight into the performance of your dealership and your salespeople.This way you can identify areas of amazing or poor performance to focus and work on, along with any missed opportunities. e.g finance, insurance or trading a car.You can learn quickly and efficiently how good or bad each customer’s experience was.Ensure you address quickly any areas of concern raised, so any future customers can avoid the same pitfalls. Improving in this area alone could provide those extra five or ten vehicle sales you’ve been chasing each month.If on the other hand all your customers love what you do,celebrate this. Publish their feedback and tell everyone about what your customers feel. Remember over 50% of buyers change their purchase decision of what and who they buy from based on customer reviews.With that in mind, it makes sense for you and your team to do all you can to ensure your customers get the best experience possible, therefore providing you with the best feedback possible, which you can then turn around and share with potential new customers, all in an effort to influence them in their decision making process.Great customer experiences combined with remaining present in their minds through active CRM disciplines all contribute significantly to increased referrals to your business and then when the time is right, being their first choice for their next purchase. The risk of not taking your customers seriously in this regard and your business will end up solely relying on new customers that you have to advertise heavily to get in the door. The new ones are your most expensive customers, therefore the more you can influence the balance to increase your referral and repeat business, which will ultimately be better for your bottom-line.The saying that been around for many years, still rings so true today “your old customers, are your gold customers”. Yet, ironically, it is common practice to focus all the dealerships energy, resources and money solely on getting new ones. Getting the balance right is the key to realising a much better overall result.