The customer experience from acquisition through sale is a long process including multiple departments that utilize a variety of tools with a lot of overlap. Department responsibilities and tool usage also varies across dealerships within the same network. In working with sales associates it became apparent our biggest opportunities are when customers were at the dealership. Sales and marketing, then finance tools would be better served as unique solutions as a part of a suite.
I helped facilitate a workshop in Cupertino with one of Apple's design evangelists. Entering the workshop we knew there was a need across the whole dealership experience. Typically, when going into a workshop with Apple, the business need is a little more defined—here we had to spend more time uncovering pain points and prioritizing. I ran through a number of exercises with 3 dealership sales associates in conjunction with client stakeholders to begin to narrow focus onto a couple of clear opportunities
In order to quickly produce concepts in order to gather as much feedback on raw ideas as possible I did whiteboard sketches and presented them to the users and business stakeholders. This allowed for several quick iterations and helped further build consensus around what items and features were most crucial. We learned that while tracking down vehicles on the lot that knowing the fuel level and if the car is blocked in were most critical to avoiding keeping the customer waiting. We also focused on low touch input methods during the test drive so that the sales associate didn't get distracted by the app.
From the moment a customer arrives on the lot, the app helps the dealer answer questions the customer might have, find inventory that fits their needs, locate inventory in order to take a test drive, and easily transition a sale to the finance team or continue the customer relationship if a sale isn't reached.
Since the workshop uncovered scope that was larger than initially expected, a lot of the initial work focussed on quick iterations to the design in order to get feedback from users. I used animated prototypes to demonstrate stories as well as the happy path in order to collect that feedback.
While engaging the customer a sales person needs to find a vehicle that fits their interest from the inventory and then physically on the lot.
To encourage conversation rather than documentation, the salesman could record interest levels in from structured fields rather than free text.
Even if the test drive does not immediately lead to sale, the customer often wants more info. The salesman can share industry reports, press reviews, and awards received.