The automotive industry is always evolving and rarely faster than in recent years. As such, Allen Ford is constantly adapting to meet customer expectations and big challenges, such as electric vehicles. Their management develops many ideas to improve the experience at their dealerships and they love feedback from the most important people – their clientele.
The company recently employed a market research agency to ask a number of people about Allen Ford’s current customer experience and what can be done better in addition to their thoughts and feelings about ideas for the future. The firm has taken this feedback and created a pilot scheme aimed at making the dealership more engaging by trialling concepts for staffing, the showroom’s layout, and the interactions within it. If successful, these concepts may be used in other dealerships.
Allen Ford is the only Ford dealer in the UK running this pilot scheme and everyone will be interested in its findings. While some concepts may be new to Ford dealerships, many of them may be similar and familiar to premium brands who have found success with them. The emphasis is on empowering customers and helping them feel more comfortable.
For instance, Sales Executives will become “Product Specialists” because their role will be to provide details on vehicles, fixed prices, financial solutions, and other useful offerings instead of giving the “hard sell”. They will no longer be chasing commissions. In 2022, drivers know what they want (or can find out online), what they expect to pay, and what their current vehicle is worth. This means that Product Specialists will focus on delivering the best customer service.
Staff will also move to a five-day working week and their ‘uniform’ will shift from formal clothing (such as suits) to more casual, yet smart, branded shirts with no ties.
Allen Ford will make bold alterations inside the dealership so that visits become more engaging and useful. To begin, people will encounter a digital display to welcome them before they then explore a new layout to create new zones in the showroom. As well as a prominent service area, there will be halo vehicles on platforms and further digital screens for customers to learn more about models and spec with help on hand from the Product Specialists.
There will be a more comfortable waiting area, like a conventional lounge at home, with sofas and plants, plus a café area where people can get a proper coffee rather than one from a vending machine.
If the caffeine doesn’t get the blood pumping, then the experience for customers collecting new vehicles certainly will. They’ll move down a handover walkway showcasing the best of Ford from years gone by before the excitement builds while watching a short film about their amazing new model. Then the lights and sound will unveil the vehicle in all its shiny glory, ready to be given, driven and enjoyed!
While some concepts may seem far removed from a traditional showroom, it’s essential for Allen Ford to trial them so that customers get the service that they expect and deserve.