Behind every new car lies much homework. The company does a lot of market research to find what the customer wants, holds customer clinics to fine-tune ideas, identifying emotions and sensibilities that will make the customer identify with the product – all this, even before the designers and engineers put down a line on paper.
Interestingly, Honda has used this same philosophy to create a new customer experience from the moment the customer steps into its dealership. Yes, Honda is unveiling a new dealership experience that reflects the quality, reliability and luxury that Honda cars are known for. The new identity accentuates the cars’ aesthetics and overall appeal in the form of distinctive exteriors, warm, welcoming interiors and a new customer interface, thus offering an enriched and unmatched buying experience. It will not just amplify the ‘Joy of Buying’ for all customers but also the ‘Joy of Selling’ for the dealership staff.
The new Honda dealerships are designed to pamper all five senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Let’s see how it works.
EYE-CATCHING EXTERIOR DESIGN
There is no way that you will miss identifying a Honda showroom, even in fast traffic. The distinctive red entry portal with the metallic Honda logo and the dealership’s name is pleasingly eye-catching. This directs your gaze to the rest of the dealership’s visage, with the white ACP cladding bearing the Honda legend cascading down to panoramic ceiling-to-floor windows with brightly lit-up Honda cars gleaming behind the glass. The reduced glazing from the previous design doesn’t just add to the aesthetics but also helps reduce heat and use of electricity.
It’s not just the exteriors that catch your eye. Walk into the showroom and you will find the reception area defined by a red background – again with a chrome Honda logo – where you will be greeted by your hostess who will escort you to a discussion table.
WARM, WELCOMING AND ENGAGING INTERIORS
As you step into the showroom, you will find a pristine off-white space with an uninterrupted view of the cars on display, parked with micro-millimetre precision. One of the cars on display is the ‘hero car’, differentiated by the special lighting designed for it. An overhead fabric light-box showcases the contours of the ‘hero car’ in a much more premium fashion than the other uniformly lit models.
Apart from the cars, the only other thing on the floor are a few organic, kidney-shaped discussion tables and chairs. It is here that the sales consultant engages with the customers to identify their needs and requirements and guide them on models, features and financials. Perhaps one of the most difficult choices that a customer has to make is that of colour. Honda has tried to make this easier with an exhibit of miniature car models displaying the entire available colour palette to help customers make up their minds.
The ‘hero car’ is lit up by an overhead fabric light to highlight its contours.
The customer is then led across the floor to get a feel of the car they have shortlisted. Honda has a defined, six-step demo procedure to give the customer an exhaustive look at everything the cars offer. From here, it’s a few steps away to the front of the showroom where a Honda Demo Car is ready for the test drive.
A unique feature of the Honda test drive is the ‘Talking Car’ feature. While you are taking the test drive, the demo car will monitor your driving inputs and explain key features of the car, through its audio system.
Organic, kidney-shaped discussion table takes less space on the showroom floor.
ENGAGING AND IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
Honda has incorporated a really high-tech solution for people overwhelmed with information and choices, so as to help them make the most informed decision about which model or variant they want. The front end of this is a 75-inch LED screen. This is a portal into a digital world where the customer can view all the models in 360 degrees, both from inside and the outside. The viewer can switch between the different variants and colours, as well as compare the cars. The person can also configure their car with various accessories and get to see how exactly the car will look after. This visual aid is another tool Honda offers to help the customer make the right decision.
75-inch LED screen to help customers choose colours, accessories, variants and customise their car.
In the next part of the customer-sales consultant interaction the customer is guided to the lounge. This cosy customer lounge has a lower, wooden waffle-design ceiling with a carpet and wood tiling on the floor. The lighting here is different and warmer; but it’s not just your eyes that complete the experience here. Soft instrumental music playing in the background masks the sounds from the dealership’s main floor. Remember, this showroom is focused on pampering all your five senses and the soothing music adds to the relaxing atmosphere here. What adds to the ambience is the smell of coffee wafting in from the attached cafe. Yes, there’s a small cafe here that serves you beverages and snacks, should you be feeling a bit peckish. This lounge is also designed for customers who are waiting for their cars to be serviced.
One of the most joyous days in a person’s life is the day the car is delivered. Honda makes the experience even more special with a dedicated new car delivery area flanked by a large digital monitor that streams the delivery details and pictures of the customer taking delivery of their new pride and joy. After the unveil, key presentation and cake-cutting, the happy customer drives out of the showroom with the assurance that every person in Honda Cars India is standing behind him.
Dedicated delivery area is designed to make the special day memorable for the customer.
THE FUTURE BECKONS
To underline this, Honda is implementing what it calls ‘iWorkshop’. This is a fully integrated digital workshop management system that combines the key workshop processes into a simple and intuitive solution using the latest in technology. It will provide real-time updates and a holistic aftersales experience to Honda customers, through the Honda Connect application. Through this app, customers can monitor their car in real time.
The fully integrated digital workshop-management system.
North East Honda is the first of a new kind of Honda showrooms offering a new kind of customer experience. All the brand’s existing showrooms and service centres – the entire sales and distribution network with 350 facilities in 239 cities spread across the country – will progressively adopt the new identity within the next three years.