The worst is over. Car sales are on the rise again and maybe you have a little space in your budget for some renovation. But what kind of remodeling will give you the greatest potential ROI? The answer might be easier than you think. Revamp the waiting room. You might see an 80% increase in business or amazing Yelp reviews about your dealership’s restaurant.
We already showed you 7 amazing car dealership waiting rooms which look nothing like traditional waiting rooms. Luxury brands take it to another level, though, with gyms, putting greens or flat screen televisions in their bathrooms. If you think spending mucho dinero on a renovation won’t net your store a big enough ROI, take a look at these studies and dealer experiences.
80% increase in overall business
Last year Renick Subaru in Orange County expanded their waiting area to 3,500 square feet and saw an 80% increase in overall business.
217 more cars sold per year
Maritz Research found in 2012 the average car dealership could sell up to an additional 217 cars per year through improved customer service.
Higher customer satisfaction scores
A 2013 J.D. Powell and Associates report found on a 1,ooo point scale, customer satisfaction with service departments has gone up 29 points since 2011 because of dealer investments on “customer touch points.” This includes the waiting rooms.
Word-of-mouth and SEO
If you create a truly unique experience in your store’s waiting room, people are going to write about it, Tweet about it, post pictures about it or even review it. Vintana Wine + Dine is proof. It’s a swanky restaurant in a Lexus dealership that has hundreds of Yelp reviews.
Customers want to come back
David Rosenburg, President of Prime Automotive said in this interview “the benefit to the dealership is the more comfortable we can make it to do business here, the more likely they are to return.” Peter Catanese of Central Automotive said the addition of the cafes and shops “creates a lot of excitement” and that customers enjoy coming to the dealership.
Improve office morale
A sleek and clean office not only makes customers want to come back, but employees want to stay with a company. General Manager of Dunning Toyota, John Taylor stressed in this interview, “salespeople and other employees look forward to the new working environment and the ability to show off.”
Renovations are expensive so General Motors and Ford have incentives to help cover the cost. Ford will help some dealers pay half the cost of remodeling up to $750,000. On top of reimbursements, General Motors will also offer dealerships extra training.
We’re not saying you have to build a whole new waiting room just to keep up with the guy down the road, but consider adding some new coffee machines and comfortable chairs. For both entertainment and transparency, put in a TV that displays the service bay so customers can see the progress of their car. If that is outside the budget, think about small touches like free doughnuts and bagels in the morning or free ice cream treats in the afternoon.
Those are just a few examples of the kinds of remodeling happening right now across the country. For more ideas and opinions on this shift from other car dealers, read this USA Today article.