Dealership’s refresher class lures buyers back

An employee at Subaru Superstore of Chandler explains a car’s features at a new-owner orientation session.

Reason to return

Subaru Superstore of Chandler has found a way to bring customers back to the dealership: new-owner technical presentations.

PHOENIX — Customers at Subaru Superstore of Chandler are encouraged to come back to the dealership as often as they like.

But it’s far more than a casual invitation. To build a bond between customers and the store, the dealership invites buyers to come back to talk about and learn about their vehicles.

“Once a month, on the third Thursday of every month, we have a new-owner orientation,” said General Manager Mike Wasserman, seated at a desk in his spacious, naturally lit showroom here that opened in 2009.

The suburban Phoenix dealership holds two sessions and the audience is treated to refreshments and door prizes.

“We’ll go through everything again with the group,” he said. “We’ll have a car set up and we’ll show them how it works. We do EyeSight demonstrations out in back, let people hop in a new car and show them how it works.”

Subaru’s EyeSight safety package combines adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision braking system, blind-spot detection and lane departure and sway warning.

Questions answered

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Wasserman said the orientation also can be a time to show customers how something as basic as the backup camera or infotainment system works.

For questions about nondriving features, the dealership has an employee go through a vehicle on the showroom floor with orientation members.

“We want our customers to enjoy the car and use the features and benefits in the car,” Wasserman said. “That’s why they’re buying them.”

As vehicles become more advanced, it’s hard to find one without a lot of tech options or new features, opening the door to customer questions.

“These cars aren’t base,” Wasserman said of his Subarus. “There’s more to them than that. You can’t get a stripped down car.”

In addition to the new-owner orientation, the store has four product specialists who customers can go to for one-on-one sessions, a popular option, Wasserman said.

Good crowds

About 50 people typically show up on owner-session nights. The store sells about 2,000 new vehicles a year, and nearly one out of three customers comes back for a session. “We want as many people as possible,” Wasserman said.

It’s not uncommon for a customer to purchase a vehicle in January, for example, but come back to an orientation in April or May, which Wasserman welcomes since a clear benefit of the sessions is making customers more familiar with the dealership.

“We want to get them back to the store and introduce them to service,” he said. “This just lets them know what a nice facility this is to come and do business. It’s more of getting them in the habit as well. But we want them to enjoy their car and learn how to operate their car.”

Reason to return

Subaru Superstore of Chandler has found a way to bring customers back to the dealership: new-owner technical presentations.