You’ve signed every dotted line and the keys to your new ride are resting in the palm of your hand. You’re about to hit the open road, but then the sales rep slides into the passenger seat and starts to school you on every technology your new car has to offer.
But, between shuffling the kids from school to practice, making dinner and enjoying the last bit of warm weather, do you really have time to learn everything your new car has to offer while sitting at the dealership?
To provide effective tech training and be considerate of their customer’s time, Don Sanderson Ford of Phoenix, Arizona, is putting a new spin on an old convenience: offering on-demand house calls aimed at providing comfortable, convenient technology training for new customers. The Don Sanderson Start Team consists of four members dedicated to delivering a comprehensive introduction to all of the tech features a new car has to offer wherever or whenever the customers’ schedule permits.
Ineffective tech training sessions – ones that are rushed or in which a customer is distracted – are one reason why 20 percent of vehicle technologies never get used, according to J.D. Power. (If you’re a millennial, that percentage is even higher.) However, not knowing how to use the tech in your car could mean you’re missing out on features that can help reduce anxiety in stressful driving situations. This is the theory behind the Start Team.
Take Jepson Sutton, for example. He and his wife needed a new car – the same week they welcomed their first child into the world. The dealership handled the entire purchase over the phone and once the newest Jepson arrived home, the Sanderson Start Team paid a visit and showed the family how to use all the technology in their magnetic metallic 2017 Escape Titanium.
And then there’s David Boon, who said the Start Team helped him avoid a task he previously dreaded – reading his vehicle’s owner manual.
“This is a more hands-on way than trying to read a long manual that I would never read,” he said.
Other dealerships around the country, including Don Chalmers Ford of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and Thoroughbred Ford of Kansas City, Missouri, have similar tech training services to help customers.
Max Sirstins, Sanderson’s marketing director, said demand for the Start Team grows in the weeks and months after the customer has purchased the vehicle. Data shows if a customer doesn’t learn to use a technology within the first 30 days of having their new vehicle, odds are that technology will go unused.
The Start Team at Sanderson ensures there is always at least one member in the office or in the field, to meet customer demand and members even travel statewide to provide at-home, hands-on training.
“If our customers are willing to drive to us to purchase a new Ford,” said Sirstins, “we’ll drive to them to help them enjoy it more.”