For those of us in the US, we are very accustomed to automobile dealerships that look a certain way — generally, they are huge parking lots full of automobiles with a large corrugated metal or concrete block service building in the middle with a showroom grafted onto the front. The showroom is usually a very beige or gray affair with a few tiny offices or cubicles along the back with cheap faux wood and metal desks cluterred with phone books, forms and notepads. The showroom floor has a few cars, plastic plants and a handful of promotional posters or banners. Many times the floor-to-ceiling windows are painted or plastered with promotional graphics touting discounts, new models or financing terms. Something like this:
Of course, all of us would expect better of a Saab dealer. But why? Is it because Saab has a ‘premium’ brand status? Is it because Saab’s traditional designs are low on bling and high on understated form-follows-function sensibilities?
There is a better way. Consider the simplicity and attractiveness of the recent Trollhattan Saab sponsor, Saab of Hunterdon.
The open layout with high ceilings and indirect lighting are a great start. The mood suggests artwork and sophistication and really shows the Saabs to their fullest. It’s all about the cars, and that’s a good thing.
I’m especially impressed with their very attractive service advisor area. The full-length colorful panels and the roomy, relaxed atmosphere is a great step towards giving every customer a great experience when they visit the dealership. After all, who wants to wait in a cramped back room beside the Coke machine only to be summoned to the service window where an employee barely glances your way?
And I’ve saved the best for last. The service bay at Saab of Hunterdon is immaculate!! It looks better than many (most?) showrooms! Certainly, the orderly cleanliness shows pride on the part of the technicians and certainly communicates that the dealership has high standards.
As much as we talk about ways to improve Saab sales, and as much as we lament that the general public doesn’t “get” Saab and the Saab experience, doesn’t it make sense to convey that message through the dealer network and their customer care touches? Why wouldn’t Saab strive for a dealer experience equal to their product?
Saab USA would do very well to study the customer satisfaction with dealers such as Saab of Hunterdon. I believe that they would have some very compelling reasons to insist on doing things the “Saab way”.
If you know of other dealers that are exemplary in this area, fill up the comments!!