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Gábor started working for BARE International in 2012 in the Budapest office. He is very much dedicated towards the automotive projects, so it is no wonder he is dealing with a lot of projects from this industry.

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You work for a mystery shopping company – have you ever done any kind of mystery visits?

dsc01687_editedBefore coming to work for BARE, I used to be an official mystery shopper, and by the time I joined the team, I had already learnt a few things about the industry. Actually I had always been asking the colleagues if they had any open positions, because I was more than interested to working for BARE.
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How about the automotive projects?

At that time, especially in Hungary there weren’t many automotive industry-related projects, but I could join in working on ones that were running in other countries. Since then, there have been a lot of changes in this region.
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During your mystery shopping career did you encounter any kind of interesting or disturbing situations?

As an employee of BARE International, I keep telling our Evaluators to try to avoid mistakes like the ones I did during my first visit. I walked into a dealership. It was a simple walk-in visit, with no need to ask for an appointment in advance from the consultant. So I arrived at the place, and the sales consultant just said to me that he was sorry but I had to come back on another day because there was an exhibition he needed to leave for.
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Could you finish the visit?

Yes I could, but the only question he asked me was: have you decided to buy the car or not? And I was facing with the very hard situation of not knowing what to do, because we had a 10 minutes’ conversation instead of an hour.
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dsc01683_editedWhat do you think about mystery visits in general?

It can be a very good training for you to see how you can act in different situations. It is not about being an enemy of the sales assistant or the brand as a mystery evaluator; instead, you are helping with the brand with your insights in order to provide an even better customer service.

I enjoy being there to learn and help, and I also like the challenge that I need to pay attention to lots of things at the same time. Then it is again to improve my skills. I also get feedback on my mistakes in the report. And last but not least, you can earn money with mystery shopping. So, why not?

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This is definitely a huge a benefit. Do  you have a favourite role you particularly enjoyed playing?

Well, I’m not telling this because I work with automotive projects, but of course, these kinds of visits are my favourites. Why? Because you don’t buy a new car every day. It is a good thing that you can just act as if you were going to buy a car or get a whole fleet for your business. Trying out brand new cars, driving them, and learning about newer and newer tech solutions is really exciting. Besides I really enjoy roleplaying, which can make you act more confidently. And the cherry on the top is to earn money while doing so. Actually, I just did one yesterday.
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Oh, that’s why I couldn’t reach you! Nice! – Do you have any advice for our evaluators?

Yes, my first advice would be just to behave totally normally, there is no need to be stressed, you are in control; just be yourself. Act as if you wanted to buy the product or service. And of course the most important thing is to be truly familiar with the Guidelines, because without that, you will have no idea about the mission. It is not a good feeling if you for example need a proof of visit, but you just forgot to take a picture of the dealership on the spot and because of this, your report is not accepted. It is really frustrating, and I know the feeling.
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Author: Anita @AnitaKocsis910

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Anita is an employee of Bare International. Besides her work, she loves doing yoga, dancing, running, travelling and reading – which is why she often wonders how would it be possible to fit one or two more hobbies into her schedule. Her love for the automotive industry came from the passion for innovations and technology. She has a master’s degree in International Economics and Business.
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Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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Why? – Why not! It’s fun.

This is a brief story of a BARE employee, who is a bit of a petrol head and wanted to do some visits himself.

For one, it’s interesting to go through the same procedures as our evaluators, having the same butterflies in the stomach when entering the dealership, and thinking – “Oh god, they must KNOW I’m a mystery evaluator!” And then discovering that everything is fine, and you are just being treated as an ordinary customer.

Of course a car is not something you buy for 1-2 years in an ideal case, so getting proper advice on the details (running costs, insurance, warranty, etc.) is of huge importance. But there is much to learn from these visits, if you are just planning to buy a new (or even used) car.

 

shutterstock_335320880_editedLesson no. 1: the price is far from fixed.

Lesson no. 2: prices are even more flexible than you might think – don’t hesitate to haggle a bit – you can find truly amazing bargains, whether new or demo vehicles are standing in the dealers’ courtyard.

Lesson no. 3: there are some hugely impressive guys working out there as sales consultants.

Lesson no.4: apart from all this, it’s a great opportunity to learn a lot about cars and technology.

Oh, and the smell of a brand new car, the soft voice of the engine during the test drive, while a consultant explains to you all the tech that’s inside, and what further equipment can be also implemented, is priceless. This is just the experience a real car-lover should have.

So, why not?

 

 


 

Author: Ákos

Ákos is a full-time employee of Bare International.Ákos_blogger_pic_edited
He works for the company for more than a year and is a member in the Social media team. He likes travelling, cars, and craft beers. He has a diploma in German Literature and a Master’s Degree in International Relations. Besides English and German, he is trying to master French and speaks Norwegian reasonably well.

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

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The purchase of a car can get pretty expensive if you’re not careful. So in order to avoid spending too much money, it might be worth spending some time to prepare properly.

What kind of car: New or Second-hand?

The first choice that needs to be made is whether you are looking to buy a brand new car, or are more interested in one that has already been used. The first category has the clear advantage of being still shining new and without any risk of improper use by previous owners – whereas a second-hand car will mainly benefit from a lower price to be paid. These can be vehicles that were used for a short while by a dealership or for an undefined time by companies or private buyers, but they can also be leased cars and so on.

As going through all the pros and cons of these subdivisions would take too much time and writing space, I will focus on the first category: What should you keep in mind when going for a brand new car?

Find out what the best time is to buy

No matter in which month you decide to visit your local dealership, there will always be a little extra that the salesperson can offer you to convince you of buying your car there. However, don’t just bite because they are throwing you a little fish, knowing that in other periods you might be able to reel in a whale. The best time to buy will be influenced by several factors, such as the end of the (financial) year or the launch of a new model, as bigger discounts are often offered then to reach the quota or to get rid of the older versions. So it’s worthwhile to pay attention to these periods. Another typical time of the year for more interesting discounts is the month in which a motor show is being organized – which leads us straight to the next point.

Visit a motor show

Visiting a motor show will not only give you the opportunity to discover the discounts offered by the different brands, the variety of cars can also give you extra ideas and will show you the newest options. There is always the chance that you see a car that you hadn’t taken into account before, and even if that isn’t the case, then certainly you will notice some interesting options / accessories that you would like to have in your future vehicle, too.

Visit a dealership

Even if the brand itself already offers a national discount, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this is the bottom price. Local dealerships can often offer an additional discount. Talk to the sales advisors; see what they can offer you, and listen to what they can recommend you (obviously it is up to you to decide whether you actually need those recommendations). Also, when you are interested in a specific car, ask if you can take it for a test drive. Buying something of this price range shouldn’t be a strictly rational decision, you should also find out what feelings it gives you. Looks and numbers surely play their part, but to have a really good match, your newest conquest should also be able to put a smile on your face – even after a long day in the office or when fighting that hangover from the night before.

Do some mystery shopping

Absolutely. I can also recommend a fair bit of mystery shopping!

Purchasing a new car is something that most people don’t do very frequently, so a bit of mystery shopping practice will make sure that you don’t get too rusty (+ it will put some extra money on your bank account, which is not bad either). And, as a matter of fact, BARE International offers mystery shops for various car brands, in a nice variety of scenarios. You can:

  • Visit a dealership to achieve the best possible offer for a specific model.
  • Ask the sales advisor during a visit whether a type of car can be sold to you as new or pre-owned only.
  • Observe how you are offered assistance at your local dealership, while inquiring about a specific car model (and possibly taking the car of your dreams for a test drive while you’re at it).
  • Call / email / chat with the customer service, asking for more information with regards to specific car terms, engine types, warranty, etc.
  • Call a dealership to evaluate the assistance while scheduling an appointment for a periodic check-up.
  • Find out how quickly you are helped when requesting a test drive online.
  • … (To be continued, as new scenarios pop up frequently).

Final checklist

So, when you are planning on purchasing a new car, be sure to do it properly: Do some research on when you would get the best value for your money. Expand your view and stay up-to-date by checking the websites of all the car brands you know; or easier, try to visit a motor show. Pay a visit to a dealership in your neighbourhood, or – preferably – to dealerships of different brands. Find out what each of them has to offer you, and don’t be afraid to share this information with the sales advisors of the competing brands. If they notice that you are looking around, they might try to make their offer even more interesting to you.

And yes, practice makes perfect: If you are looking for some bonus money to have that satellite navigation or those fancy decorations installed in your car, or just want to find out what CVT means, which engine type you should go for and what the average discount is that dealerships can offer, then be sure to have a good look at your Job Board and check out the available car evaluations.

Well, now that you are ready to go, there’s only one advice left: Have fun!


 

Author: DavyDSCF4922_resized2

Davy is active in the BARE International office in Antwerp. He has a Master’s degree in Multilingual Communication, and can get himself understood properly in 5 languages. Professionally he’s mostly busy with cars and wireless speakers, topics he’s fond of in his private life as well – apart from other hobbies, such as travelling, cooking, cycling and football.

 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: akocsis@bareinternational.com

Car brands are increasingly putting focus on improving their customer service at the car dealerships. In a highly competitive marketplace where sales are getting hard to achieve through traditional methods this is to be expected.

If we take a look back to understand how automotive sales and customer experiences have evolved, the big thing 10 years ago was car brands adjusting to the commercial power of the internet and adopting dynamic websites. The official website of a brand is a trustworthy place to begin our investigation to acquire a new object – in this case, a new car. It is our first encounter, the first touch point,  where we get our basic questions answered. We can scroll through the car’s technical characteristics and view enticing and close up photos. The website also often serves as a gateway to contact with the company employees. Consequently, we want it to be easy to navigate with a feeling of going with the flow. We want to feel welcomed and connected and not having to be led down endless roads or up dead-ends. 

Once our initial research is done we are ready to hit the road and  visit the nearest dealership of the brand we desire. The first chance for  a real look at the beauty we’re about to acquire. We are getting closer to our goal. Inside the store the interior decoration, the layout and the way we are treated by staff  is crucial. A welcoming atmosphere should fill the place. The customer experience we experienced and which pleased us on the website should  continue and must be coherent. The sole fact that we have taken the second step, shows our intent. Now it is up to the employee at the dealership, to either help us climb one more step closer to the goal or to push us backwards off the cliff.  It is here where we expect to be greeted and served with a friendly knowledgeable approach to not end up in the situation where pushy sales techniques may push us out as fast as we came in.

The main competitive tool, as Gartner insists, by the end of 2016 will be – yes you guessed it – customer experience. Even when we are convinced that our favorite brand is superior to the rest, in many cases there is an existing competitor out there that can actually provide an equal product and service. What will distinguish our choice is just a matter of personal experience and the strength of that brand image.

Accenture, a multinational consultancy,  performed  a study and found out that for 81% of respondents, personalized customer experience is among  the top 3 priorities of organizations. Micah Solomon analyzed customer experience trends and established 5 interesting trends as to what we as customers expect:

  1. A preference for being served in a way that makes the customer feel that those serving and those being served are equals.
  2. A streamlined and hassle-free/friction-free experience. As easy as on the web.
  3. Authenticity: today’s customers are on a quest for what is genuine, authentic, what feels like “the genuine article.”
  4. Transparency: A preference for businesses to be open and forthright in explanations, pricing, quality standards, vendor relations, and so forth.
  5. Adventure and Experience: A feeling that most commercial interactions are improved if there is an element of adventure, excitement, a true “experience” within the customer experience.

Coming back to our car buying experience, it doesn’t stop at driving the car home. Now we turn to the very much needed service we’ll be experience years and years to come (hopefully), in the so called “after-sales” service. The service we experience  will affect our decision to still be a brand ambassador and to continue our relationship with the brand.  Or, if we feel rather disappointed to go out and start the process again and look for another car.  

According to  Shana Rusonis, in the future, customers will care less and less about the ‘thing’ they’re buying, and will increasingly look for the value in the impact of that product or service post-transaction.

As customers it is important we get into action mode if we don’t feel we are treated the way we deserve to be. We are the ones that have the power to improve the service.  We are the engine of the future automotive industry.



Author: Vicky Lima  

Vicky Lima is a multifaceted professional with a Master Degree in Advertising. She is passionate about customer experience and the Automotive world. Besides her work in social media, she shares her passion and knowledge about cars as a writer. An avid traveler around the world investigating the relationship between customers and brands. 


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: wearecars@bareinternational.com

 

Welche Rolle spielt das Unbewusste beim Autokauf

A considerable part of our decision making is guided by the subconscious and this is also the case when it comes to making decisions on spending. As the results of a study reveal, our subconscious is always alert, even in a loud and busy environment such as the hustle of a cocktail party, people are able to filter and identify information that is relevant to them, for example, their own name and one specific conversation. This phenomenon is known as the Cocktail Party Effect. But what does that have to do with purchasing a car?

The processing of stimuli on a psychological level

The results of the experiment suggest that an acoustic stimulus is never only processed on a physical level, but also always has psychological relevance. Without being aware of it, we constantly evaluate and categorize the acoustic input we receive. Many of the decisions we make every day remain unconscious to us and though we might consider them to be our objective choices, we are often influenced by the environment a certain product or service is placed in. Similarly, advertising leaves us with a positive image of a product, in the same way as an attractive sales office and the charms and appeals of its employees can direct our decisions. Indeed, it is not only acoustic signals that appeal to our unconscious, but stimuli of all kinds.

A gravel car park versus an elegant show room – the same car?

People will perceive the quality of a car that is sold on the gravel car park next door as considerably lower than the quality of a car displayed in the ambiance of an elegant show room – even though it could be the very same car.

The significant impact of our unconscious on our processes of perception and evaluation is highlighted by yet another study: Two groups of participants were shown a picture of the same middle-range car. However, whereas the first group was shown an image of only the car, the second group saw an image of the car accompanied by an attractive, young woman leaning over the driver’s door. Besides being pleasant on the eye, the girl had no other function.

After looking at the photographs the members of each group were asked to assess the car. Interestingly, the group which had been shown the image of the car with the woman judged the car to be more expensive, more appealing and more youthful than the first group, but also it was estimated to be less secure. Nevertheless, 90% of the participants claimed to have focused only on the car and said that they did not let themselves be influenced by the good-looking girl. Well, this certainly opens up new possibilities for implementations/sales strategies at the Point of Sale since the prestige of a business and its environment clearly impact on the costumer’s perception. And indeed, those factors are taken into account.

Car manufacturers and their hostess girls – why?

The principle of displaying a car together with an attractive woman seems to work just as well/to be applied just as successfully at big car fares: In order to create a more appealing, exciting and youthful image of the car, the manufacturer hires good-looking girls, so-called hostesses, who then pose next to the car. In the course of the event, journalists take pictures of them and hence also their audience will see these pictures of the pretty girls next to the new cars. Often these pictures go all around the world – especially if a new product is at stake.

It can be assumed that the same effect is hoped to be achieved: And in fact, sometimes it seems that representatives of the media forget about the car and only remember the brand an the beautiful girl associated with it. A few days later, the car itself might be perceived in a more positive light and even the article written about it could turn out more enthusiastic.

…so last time you were at the car dealership, did you really just look at the cars?

 



Author: Benjamin Brodbeck
@automativBenjamin Brodbeck Publicist Automativ Guest Blogger BARE International

Benjamin Brodbeck, 24 years old, is a multifaceted petrolhead. Besides his work as a jazz pianist, he brings his passion and knowledge about cars as a publicist at AUTOmativ.de. He studied Automotive Business Management and is currently doing his master’s degree in journalism at the University of Vienna.


Interested in becoming an Automotive Evaluator with BARE International?

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Want to be a guest blogger for BARE’s Automotive community We Are Cars?

Apply to: wearecars@bareinternational.com