Communication is usually defined as an exchange of thoughts and ideas between two or more people. Here the emphasis is on the words two or more. As a rule, most relational problems occur when one person does all the talking and the other is never given the opportunity to express themselves. Marriages are often broken due to lack of “communication” where one is throwing words at another but never truly listening to what the other partner’s wants and needs are. In fact relationships are only successful if the feelings and opinions of both sides are heard and adhered to. The most successful relationships follow the rule of when one member speaks the other “truly” listens. Not just speak and then act like listening or just simply speak with the assumption that after all you know what is good for the other and so what “you” have to offer must be the final solution.
This rule of communication does not only apply to a relationship between two people but that of businesses and their consumers as well. It is well known that the most successful companies have a few required rules that they adhere to and one of the most important rule is to communicate with your clients and know what they want and how happy they truly are with your services and then form your products and services accordingly. Secondly always have an eye to the future and what your consumers will want and how “they” will change. Many major companies have met their demise in “shouting” their ideas at their customers assuming that what they are “shouting” is what the customer is “hearing” and of course reacting to and never stopping to evaluate their consumer base and communicate with them to truly know what they think of them. GM is a glaring example of this one sided communication with the customer. They built what they thought was good for the customer. They built what, they famously believed was, “what they did best” never wondering if what they built was what the consumer thought was “Best” for them.
The automobile dealerships of today are not run too differently. We serve our customer, good naturedly, in the best way we think. We put on a website that we and the OEM think is the best looking one and using our CRM we send out email templates that our customers “must” like. Surly, the templates are engaging, beautiful and our customers must like them. We do not stop and ask first does the customer get our beautiful email template in its entirety? And if he does get it does he like the fact that we take the liberty to fill his mail box with our “stuff”? What service do we really provide him other than the fact that we hope our template will stick and he will buy another car. Have we ever stopped to think that is it possible that our fancy templates and its periodical appearance in his mail box might even anger him? If we are asking him to buy from us what do we do in return for him to make his life easier that does not have a, so to speak, string attached? What about our website? It is after all our dealership in the World Wide Web but we do little to spruce it up and rebuild it. Do we not fire our employees when a customer walks in the show room and goes unattended? How many customers visit our virtual showroom and go “unattended” do we even know they came for a visit?
As an entrepreneur and a dealer you have survived the debacle of the last four years. Why? Mostly because dealers are ingenious and do look to the future even if they are grounded greatly by their OEM. Do not assume that web site and CRM are taking care of your customer communication needs. Remember nothing ever comes back from the customer in CRM or website they are one sided “communication” tools that will not satisfy the consumer of this century.