A story in this week’s Automotive News (“This tile, that gray: Chevy's store plan by the book") shows how much focus automakers direct toward the physical design of their dealerships and the attention to detail necessary to create an environment that reinforces desired brand impressions and customer experiences. The design of the store is critically important, but is only one factor influencing customer experience. Customer experience is also shaped by the efficiency of their interactions with the dealer, and by extension, the automaker. Since dealer operations in sales, service and parts today are largely driven by the dealer’s computer systems, the ability of those systems to seamlessly integrate with the automaker’s systems is now an extremely important contributor to customer experience.
Better and more sophisticated integration between dealer systems and automaker systems can make a big difference in customer experience in many ways. For example, dealer systems integration can:
- Ensure required parts are available for a service
- Ensure all possible sales incentives are presented to a prospective buyer
- Address possible vehicle quality issues in the service bay before they become a problem
- Coordinate automaker and dealer communications to customers to avoid confusion
Customers expect the automaker and the dealer to work in lock-step. Putting the same emphasis on improving dealer systems integration that is put on physical design will pay off in producing exceptional customer experiences.