by Ryan Leslie
Oh, the difference two little letters can make in a phrase!
Being just one OF a million has a largely negative connotation. In retail automotive it could mean that you are little more than an order taker to your consumers. They don’t expect any guidance from you, they don’t value your opinion, they really don’t WANT to interact with you at all; you are the necessary means to an end, and you are far from the ONLY person that can meet their needs. There are a million others just like you. What a horrible thought!
Contrast that with the connotation of being one IN a million…
When you are one IN a million you offer something very meaningful and extremely valuable to the consumer that they can’t get from anyone else. The connotation is that you are the ONLY one that provides a particular value or service to your consumers, the only one that can meet their needs.
I recently had the opportunity to share a few moments with Nick Santarsiero from Cardinale Way Mazda in Mesa, Arizona. Nick has been with Cardinale for eight years and is by far one of the most successful Service Advisors when it comes to collecting reviews on DealerRater. He has over 250 individual reviews! Nick is one IN a million to his customers…
How do you become one IN a Million like Nick?
• Understand the importance of consumer experience
Nick’s response to my question about why he is committed to asking his customers for reviews was; “Reviews are a reflection of world class service… they give me an opportunity to shine.” Nick clearly understands the importance of being one in a million as a service advisor. He works hard to ensure that his service department stands out from the competition and adds to his dealership’s bottom line. Consumer Experience (CX) must be of paramount importance if you want to be one IN a million to your prospects. Nick knows that CX starts well before the consumer pulls on the lot. He often directs consumers to read his reviews online before he meets a client in the drive. He is eager for his potential customers to know he is trustworthy and that they don’t need to take his word for it.
Unfortunately consumer trust is still a huge issue. Car salespeople and auto mechanics rank at or near the bottom year after year in the annual Gallup Poll of Honesty/Ethics in Professions. Here is where dealership reviews and individual employee reviews can really help overcome this negative consumer perception and make you shine as that one IN a million. The digital interaction with your dealership and employees is almost always the beginning of their formative opinion about you. As CX starts online, with search engines incorporating more social signals into their algorithms, if you want your dealership to appear as that one IN a million for localized searches, then you will certainly need to consider how your customers are able to leave reviews online for both sales and service.
• Adopt an attitude of unique customer service based on consumer experience
I asked Nick how he has been so consistent in requesting reviews from his customers. His answer was simply that; “Phil, my GM, doesn’t make it a suggestion, it’s a directive.” The dealership has a culture of creating unique consumer experiences, and they’ve made it a habit. From the top down and the bottom up, “5 star service” is more than a cute tagline. Nick is confident in his ability and his commitment to great consumer experiences. Every day he consciously chooses to be one IN a million.
Consumers use reviews about you and your dealership to set an expectation for their own experience. If you have only a few reviews that describe mostly negative experiences online, consumers will expect that their experience will also be negative. You are just one of a million people trying to sell them a car. If you, like Nick, have hundreds of positive consumer experiences shared digitally with your prospective consumers, you are easily identified as the one IN a million professional that can truly help them with their automotive needs.
I have some more great data from my interview with Nick and I’ll comment more on how Cardinale Way Mazda has created a culture of consumer experience and offer some best practices in a future article, so stay tuned….