Q1 is generally the time when we reflect on what we did right, evaluate our shortcomings, and execute our plan to dominate 2021 in the automotive industry. One area of importance that has been negative for automotive is TIS, or Time-In-Showroom.

You could have 5-star reviews in all categories, but this seems to consistently be the area in which customers have complaints. And you are not alone if you are in this boat. This is an industry-wide problem that needs to be addressed. With the pandemic still affecting consumer behavior, they are looking for ways to lessen time in public places, and if we want to sell more cars, we need to acknowledge this.

Your customers are still spending 3 – 4 hours in the showroom. Look at this review. This is consistent with the majority of the reviews my clients are getting. 

The scores are perfect in the majority of categories, and most would think “We’re doing great!” But you cannot ignore the glaring number 7 at the bottom. 

“How satisfied with time spent” is an incredibly important question, because the most valuable thing to a customer is time–it is something you can never get back. And customers are saying that we are either not valuing their time or not providing value during the time spent at the dealership. 

It’s easy to pass that by and think it’s not a big deal. But it actually is the number one thing you should be focusing on as we enter 2021. 

TIS, (Time-in-Showroom) must be a focal point as we continue to adjust our selling model and processes. Perception is reality, and the perception that time is wasted is not getting better. Consumers are more savvy than ever and there has never been a time when so much information is at their fingertips. Consumers have done their research to the tune of 18+ hours of research online. They are familiar with and expect the ease of purchase of Amazon. Are you striving to be like Amazon (quick, efficient, and easy), or do your processes look more like Blockbuster?

People ARE searching for new ways to buy a car because of that ONE score. And even if you are firing on all cylinders in all of the other categories, you cannot take your eye off that ball. As we continue to learn from the changes that consumers have demanded since March of 2020, we must adapt and adjust our internal processes to become:

  • Quicker
  • More Efficient
  • Easier for the customer

But if we are looking at the numbers, which is what I am always doing, the online sales of vehicles and the places they are buying them is on the rise. Carvana, Tesla….. There is no TIS. None! Their TIS score is going to be a 10 out of 10. 

So–What do you do to not only compete with, but hold your own against these giants of customer service? Here are some small steps to help decrease TIS and increase customer satisfaction:

  • Make sure all BDC Agents/Sales Team/Internet Team are taking copious notes in the CRM. If someone sends in a lead or has a conversation with an agent, they have most likely provided information on what they are looking for, what their non-negotiables are, and what they can spend. This is solid gold information. 
  • When the customer sets an appointment to come into the dealership, MAKE SURE whoever is working with this customer is either briefed on what they are looking for or that they have gone into the CRM. Nothing is worse for a customer than having to restate OVER AND OVER what you are looking for to different people.
  • Optimize your Digital Retailing Tool. If this is done well, and you not only provide the tool on your site but also have videos explaining how to use the tool and the advantages of it, this could be a MAJOR time saver. The consumer can complete many aspects of the deal online, and then TIS can be drastically reduced.
  • Educate the customer on your online purchasing process. It is not enough to have a copy in your ads stating “Buy 100% Online!” Your customers still don’t know what that looks like for a dealership. Take time to educate them. Create landing pages, videos, and social posts that highlight these offerings to customers so that they have the initial information needed.
  • And lastly, do an assessment of your customer’s TIS. What other bottlenecks are you seeing that you need to clear? The more you clear the path for your customers to spend quality time in your showroom, the more customer satisfaction you will have!

These few steps in the right direction could dramatically reduce your TIS, increase customer satisfaction, and help provide the process you will need to be not only competitive but successful in 2021!