Customer Journey Optimization for Car Dealerships

Customer Journey Optimization for Car Dealers: Part 1

Written By Eric Schlesinger

Making the customer experience personal, seamless, and relevant is the new battleground. Studies show that for most of your customers, this is now a table-stakes expectation. 

According to PWC, 59% of people will walk away after bad experiences, even when they love a company or product. 

Your dealership might be feeling the harmful effects of a bad customer experience right now: dead-end leads, low ROI from digital marketing, poor reviews, etc. How do you turn negative interactions into positive ones you can reproduce for future car buyers? 

The answer is customer journey optimization.

What is customer journey optimization?

Customer journey optimization (or CJO) is the process of mapping and connecting customer interactions across touchpoints to influence the end-to-end experience. (Source: Genesys)

At first glance, a customer’s journey is simple. You offer something; they buy it. But once you get into the nitty-gritty of things, customer journeys are quite complex. Customers can come into contact with your dealership in many ways, from marketing to referrals to search to social media. And, according to McKinsey, the number of digital touchpoints is increasing by 20% per year as younger consumers enter the ranks of buyers.

While dealerships have done an incredible job of going omnichannel, consumers are still disappointed with their experiences. With so many disconnected channels, the customer journey has become fragmented. CJO is the only way to bridge the customer experience gap.

Why should a car dealer optimize the customer journey?

When customers have confusing or frustrating interactions, you risk losing them to the competition. And that’s across the entire journey, from awareness to purchase to brand loyalty. 

Customer journey optimization helps you get to grips with the real story of how a customer interacts with your business, so you can:

  • Break the silos that divide customer touchpoints and your dealership
  • Re-evaluate how you measure success using a customer-centric approach
  • Create customer journeys that convert – time and time again

Moreover, if you prioritize creating seamless customer journey, you’ll reap the rewards. Studies show that great experiences can lead up to a 16% price premium on products and services, plus increased loyalty.

I want to offer a better customer experience. Where do I start?

You know more about your buyers than you think. From your CRM to your reputation management tool, you have access to tons of valuable information you can use to optimize the customer journey. You just have to ask the right questions.

Here are a few questions to set you on the track to offer a better customer experience:

  • Who is your audience?
  • How are they entering the buying process? 
  • Where are they in the buying journey? 
  • What are their needs, and what messaging resonates?
  • How will you evaluate their experience at every touchpoint, both individually and holistically?

Optimizing the customer journey also takes help from your vendors. Talk to your providers to ensure they have both the technology and processes to help you offer a seamless experience throughout the ENTIRE buying journey. Know that CJO can be easier and more effective when you partner with vendors who are already focused on creating the best experiences for your customers.


Ready to discover how ActivEngage helps your dealership succeed?