Technology, the internet and the changing demands of the modern retailer should herald a new sales era for automotive retail, according to Jay Nagley, managing director of Redspy.
Nagley takes to the stage at AM's Customer Service Summit which takes place on April 14 at Whittlebury Hall, near Silverstone, to question both the current sales process and how dealers measure customer satisfaction.
To best achieve the latter, Nagley believes the former needs a radical overhaul.
"Automotive retailers never receive the kind of accolades of customer service or experience which are reserved for the likes of John Lewis and the Apple Store," said Nagley.
"Whilst there is a very strong argument to reform the customer satisfaction survey, in some ways the perception of the sector won't improve dramatically until the entire sales process is updated.
"We have been selling cars the same way since the automobile was invented yet the vast majority of the purchase journey is now undertaken online. Consumers expect a very personal, digital and highly interactive experience in the showroom akin to the similar experience they should be seeing when interacting online.
“We need digital wizards whose customer service skills are exemplary who can deliver that kind of experience working in showrooms if these expectations are to be met.
"Until we redefine the sales process to make it fit for the digital sales era, customer satisfaction itself will remain elusive and dealers will continue to chase a metric which is relatively meaningless even if it does translate into manufacturer bonuses."
Some brands, such as Kia with its 'customer assistant' roles which leaves the selling to others, show there is already an appetite for change and Nagley will highlight some of the initiatives which have been implemented as well as posing questions on how the sector could reform its sales process.