Car dealerships equipped with not only the latest tools and trained personnel but with comfortable waiting lounges for customers, complete with features like complimentary WiFi, children’s play area and cafe are no longer a novelty in Malaysia, as a number of automotive brands have been steadily upgrading their dealerships over the years to provide such conveniences to its customers.
This shift in customer service isn’t limited to just Malaysia as 33 PROTON dealers found out on a recent trip to China. The trip was part of Geely’s effort to show PROTON dealers the need to innovate and improve to meet market demands and be competitive.
The group’s visit to one of Geely’s dealers in Shanghai showed them how Geely, one of the few non-state-owned automotive businesses, organises its dealership operations and customer experience to stay relevant in the business.
“It is a good experience being here. We get to see closer how a Geely dealer outlet looks like. There is a good use of space. More importantly, it has different areas for customers to feel comfortable, there are coffee area, discussion area, children area and reading area as well,” said Lum Hon Yoon, of Gagah Murni Sdn Bhd.
“This means that this place is catered for the whole family. Parents do not have to worry so much as the kids will have a play area, or if the wife needs reading time, then she can occupy the reading area, hence anyone can come and be occupied with something and not be bored while waiting for the car to be serviced,” Lum further explained.
According to Aw Chiew Soon of Warna Bestari Sdn Bhd, “People are always busy and the idea to send in a car for service for a few hours seem like a whole day. With built-in areas such as the discussion area, this could also serve as a meeting point where two or more people can come and have a small discussion. Moreover, the existence of a coffee area means that you do not have to run to the nearest Starbucks or Coffee Bean just to get your morning or afternoon coffee fix to get your day going.”
Razali Ahmad, of Erakars Sdn Bhd also shared a similar view, saying “The showroom area is more or less like the ones we currently have in PROTON outlets. What separates it is the spacious waiting area and the comfortable rest area that looks like your home living room, which is what I anticipate customers will like the most. The additional facilities becomes the pull factor in attracting customers to come service their cars. At least patrons can occupy their time in the most productive ways, so overall it is a plus factor”.
It wasn’t just the buildings or the tangible items that PROTON dealers noticed in the Geely dealerships but the trained and professional approach of the Geely dealership staff.
“As for me, the spaciousness of the waiting area is an appealing idea. More so, what impresses me is their uniform. The guys and girls all look so smart. This is also good for business. Customers who come in, could feel the ‘one-ness’ in their approach. For us, it is all about attracting customers to showroom,” explained Azizulmu’min Mohd Hussein Malim, of Rohamas Corporation Sdn Bhd.
“Furthermore, when sales and service staff speak the same language, be it in terms of uniform, or approach, it confers a lot of confidence amongst the customers, hence selling a product becomes easier, aside from good product knowledge,” Azizulmu’min explained.
As a private entreprise, Geely has had to constantly improve to meet customer expectations especially in a large and fragmented market like China. Showing PROTON dealers what is being done in China to stay competitive should give them an idea of what can be adopted an adapted to the Malaysia market.