In working in this industry for many years now I have seen a number of changes in how dealerships approach their customers. Many dealerships have made their customers part of the dealership community and engage with them on a regular basis, while others still see each customer interaction as an independent contact that is one directional, a sale.
The challenge with that is the change we see in the consumer and their unwillingness to allow one directional interactions. With the advancements of technology comes the ability for consumers to be more discerning about how and where they spend their money, and let’s be honest whether you are a millennial, Gen Z or even my group the Gen Xers, I think we all can agree we want what we want and we want to be treated well. The difference, and why millennials get such a bad rap is they are simply unforgiving in stating what us Gen Xers and prim and proper Canadians simply avoided saying. I gest but the reality is that the people who fall in the Gen X category did a great job talking about how we wanted to be treated but that was typically over a beer during the hockey game or backyard BBQ with friends and colleagues. But let’s be truthful we did not stand up as much as we could and say to vendors; “This is how I expect you to treat me and this is what I want for my money and if you don’t give it to me I will go someplace else” as openly as our younger counterparts do. We did lack some of the tools they have now but still we were not as vocal back then as we might be now. We could not “Post” our frustrations with a company, we could write them and put it in the mail but as technology advances so do the tools that allow us to be heard, and that is why ensuring excellent service is becoming more and more important.
Now what we as Gen Xers did do well is tell those lovely offspring (Gen Y and Z) that they should stand up for what they think is right and above all else do not settle. And off they went with their proverbial “guns a blazing” and they have not looked back. Now consumers thrive on third party endorsements, they do not care much about your ad that says how great you are, they rely on what “Google” or “Facebook” tells them. And that is why ensuring you are focused on third party endorsements and making customers part of your dealership community is particularly important if you wish to win in todays modern age of automotive sales.
But the truth is we continue to learn, from the youngest to the oldest generation everyone seems to be ready and willing to learn. This means the more we learn the more we can be vocal and the more our voices can be heard. This means it is up to the dealerships to listen and ensure they come along and learn with their customers. My suggestion; be more attentive to customer voices, be more progressive if your approach, be aware of changes in technology that can support your business and above all else, be kind to your customers, after all they are the ones making the decision to spend thousands with you, or nothing at all.