Maximise every customer moment
Buying a car is one of the most important decisions a person can make. It can also be one of the most emotional. In the excitement of choosing a vehicle, customers can sometimes overlook the necessities in their car purchase – including motor vehicle insurance.
As a business manager, it’s important to make sure your customers have considered the right level of insurance cover for their next car and that they’re protected the moment they exit the dealer yard. But when is the best time to have the insurance conversation? Is it before or after a test drive? Is it before or after the customer has made a commitment to purchase?
Customer downtime is part and parcel of the purchase journey, so the answer could well be: whenever the opportunity allows.
It’s true that some customers report not being in the right headspace to discuss insurance when they’re deciding on a car purchase. But Allianz research shows that as many as 30 per cent of customers say they start thinking about insurance before they visit a dealership1. And almost half say they would like to have discussed insurance earlier in their car-buying journey than they did.
Customers who look for added benefits also think about insurance earlier in the journey than those who stick with the same insurance brand or choose the lowest price1.
It simply makes sense for dealerships to leverage periods of customer downtime to discuss insurance, particularly when there is a large subset of customers who say they want to understand insurance options early on.
What you can do during customer downtime
Smart dealerships aim to minimise the amount of time customers spend unattended and without anything to occupy their time. Consulting firm Gallup says organisations need to go a step further and make a distinction between actual customer wait time and perceived wait time2. The latter is the amount of time customers think they have waited, regardless of how long they have actually waited.
It proposes a number of strategies dealerships can use to reduce a customer’s perceived wait time. Among these is appointing a customer service staff member to coordinate customer interactions with the dealership. When a customer is greeted in person, and can indicate the purpose of their visit and be directed accordingly, they feel noticed and understand that their transaction with the dealership is already underway.
Dealership staff also need to be seen to be acting with a sense of urgency. Customers want to know that staff are operating to attend to their needs as quickly as possible and that they are not engaged in idle tasks.
Perhaps most importantly, customers want to have something to do while they are waiting.
Businesses of any kind usually tick this box by offering customers magazines to browse through or a television to watch while in the guest waiting area. However, this is an opportune time to provide the customer with thought-starters about aspects of a car purchase that may not be front of mind, such as insurance cover and what finance arrangements are available.
Our suite of point of sale materials including the Let’s talk Insurance checklist, is a great option to put in front of the customer at this time – and it can help spur a useful conversation about vehicle insurance later on.
Likewise, during a lull in negotiations, such as when a purchase price is being approved, it can be useful to have the customer consider their insurance needs – and any benefits offered by dealer insurance.
Bolstering insurance conversations
There is scope for dealerships to up their game when encouraging customers to consider additional options, like insurance and vehicle finance.
We found that a majority of car-buying customers did not have a conversation about vehicle insurance when they visited a dealership1. Many of those customers indicated they were unaware of manufacturer insurance being available to them. And of those who said insurance was discussed, many reported that the benefits of insurance weren’t mentioned.
You could enhance your customers’ experience by talking to them about their vehicle insurance needs during periods of downtime. And with many dealer customers actively wanting a conversation about insurance from the outset, it seems the earlier the better.
And if your customer doesn’t have any downtime at all, you could ask them if they’re interested in a phone call after they’ve gone home to discuss options. This is one way we can help you maintain the conversation after the customer leaves the dealership.
This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 (“Allianz”). Information contained in this article is accurate as at March 2022 and may be subject to change. In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way. Any opinions expressed constitute our views at the time of the issue and are subject to change. Neither Allianz, nor its employees or directors give any warranty of accuracy or accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in this article.
1 Allianz Car-buying Customer Journey 2021
2 4 Strategies to Manage Customers' Wait Time – Gallup, October 2015