I recently chimed in on a DrivingSales blog that was asking the question “What are the best waiting room amenities you’ve seen?”.

Most of the replies to the blog were; they liked popcorn, coffee and items to keep kids occupied.

However, my response took it “up a level”; mentioning that if a dealership does not first realize who their customers are, spending money on amenities is a shot in the dark.

After more thought on the topic, I have come to the realization that how a dealer decides to spend their amenity budget, provides insight into how a dealer views its primary mode of customer interaction.

Meaning does a dealer view each customer as a transaction or a subscription?

In the transaction environment, usually a minimal number of cars are available in the showroom. The showroom can be more utilitarian in design, and efforts should focus on upfront planning with the customer to have test vehicles ready. Minimizing the time and buying process should be the goal.

In the subscription dealership, the showroom should be “Vegas like”, planning that the customer will spend time to “kick the tires” on a number of available vehicles. Providing amenities so at the end they feel the extra time they spent was enjoyable and of value.

Sales success does not depend on which you choose, but it depends on selecting the model appropriate for your dealership and planning for it across the entire dealership.

This allows you to set the expectation with employees on how to communicate with customers, align your in-store messaging and even dial in the amenities in your waiting areas. Having this aligned vision improves customer experience, which in turn boosts sales.

For example, a dealership service department located in the bustling downtown of a major metropolitan area, wouldn’t be primarily concerned with providing amenities designed to keep guest engaged and entertained while they wait. This is because the dealership is surrounded by easily accessible things for the customer to do, while they wait for their car. In this scenario, the customer is not thinking of the dealership as a destination or interested in the “dealership experience”. The dealership should view these interactions as transactions, and the best amenities would be a map and bus schedule 😊

The other extreme is when the dealership is located in an auto mall in the suburbs or perimeter of a major city. The only nearby retail is other auto dealers, and even a shuttle service is often more worrisome than positive. The dealership should expect service customers to spend time waiting for their vehicle and provide amenities to make the “dealership experience” be positive. The dealership should view these interactions as a subscription. Food, quiet rooms, different types of entertainment for different audiences…all can make the customer feel better about the wait and be more willing to return.

By effectively identifying the type of dealership you are, you can craft the best customer experience, which will in turn lead to greater sales success.

Here at AutoVision TV, we have helped hundreds of dealers not only identify the types of dealerships they are but have also helped support the type of dealership they are with digital signage.

This includes creating messaging that displays on digital signage that matches the expectation of the customer, communicates how the dealership meets the needs of that particular customer and sets up return service.

If you would like to get a free consolation on determining, they type of dealer you are email