Consider the houseplant. Whether you have a really green thumb or a really notable ability to kill even the hardiest of plants, you know that houseplants rely on your continued watering and attention for their survival, and that, without your consistent insistence on helping them grow, they will eventually wither and die.
In a similar way, retail consumer finance programs need ongoing love and attention in order to grow and live up to the high expectations placed on them as revenue boosters and customer relationship builders. Just as you couldn’t leave a houseplant without water or light for months on end and expect it to thrive, you can’t leave your consumer finance program without updates and improvements and expect it to perform at a high level. It needs to be watered with better technology and nourished with the light of innovation if it is to rise to a respectable height.
But what exactly should you be feeding your consumer finance program? What technological nutrients should be delivering to it daily to see it improve over time and stay ahead of the competition? Here are a few of the best areas to invest your time and money in when it comes to your retail consumer finance program, so you can see it grow beyond your wildest expectations.
Here is where so many retail business owners get it wrong. How many, exactly? Well, 50% of retailers that take on a given lending option never end up using it, just for starters. But beyond that, too many retailers are content to let their consumer finance programs wallow in mediocrity when they could be rising from the depths to new heights of revenue richness. Both the flaws and their solutions in this area begin with the pitch.
The pitch is really the fundamental thing. It is the basis of your retail business. It is the chassis, the framework, and the guiding principle behind which all of your other business plans align. You are only as good as your pitch, and the idea of your pitch is only as good as your last actual pitch. In other words, you need to have a great pitch, and your team needs to actually deliver that pitch as intended every time.
But what makes for a great retail pitch, particularly as relates to your consumer finance program? It all starts with seeing things from the customer perspective. A bad retail pitch sees things only from the retailer’s perspective. It makes judgments. It lays down pretext. It says things like, “I know X customer won’t want financing for reasons A, B, and C, and so I’m not going to offer it.” It removes one of the key parts of the pitch from the pitch before ever pitching it to the customer. It is akin to stopping at a gas station to remove one of your wheels before getting on the highway.
A strong retail pitch brings everything to the table. It lays everything out, right from the start. It makes financing the core of the pitch, the key, essential element that is presented to every customer. And guess what? Every customer loves flexibility. Every customer loves having options. Even if they don’t eventually end up financing their purchase, you have contributed to a warm fellow-feeling by expanding their world. By opening up the list of possible things they can do to include the possibility of financing their purchase. Not just if they need to, but even if they simply just want to. The best pitches make the customer imagine all the reasons they want to buy and all the reasons they should be, and, eventually, how they will buy and why they will buy again.
Offer a financed-focused, world-expanding pitch that centers the customer’s needs and not any preconceptions on your part or on the part of your staff. Every customer is a new person, every customer interaction is a new opportunity, and every sales pitch is a new presentation of the core thing that makes your business special. Nail it.
You have pitched the idea successfully, and now you must deliver on it. It is not an obligation; it is an opportunity. It’s a chance for your business to walk the walk for your customer and lay the foundation for a strong customer relationship going forward. But the delivery has to be just as customer-focused as the pitch. If it isn’t, you’re right back at square one.
As an example, imagine you deliver a financed-focused pitch and the customer decides they want to finance their purchase. So far, so good, but then let’s say your actual finance process isn’t up to snuff. The application process is slow and laborious, what with all the repeat data entry for applications to multiple lenders and the painful, sometimes embarrassing wait for an approval. Now, you’ve taken the strength of your pitch and turned it into a liability, by failing to deliver on its promise.
Refine your delivery with FormPiper, a complete consumer finance automation solution. With FormPiper, the application process is a breeze, as you and your team can fill multiple forms for different lenders with a single push of a button, enabling you to run as many applications as you need to get an approval with total ease, and eliminating that awkward, customer-interaction-deadening wait. By devoting time to improving your delivery, you are ultimately investing in a better customer experience.
Once you’ve delivered for the customer, you need to follow up with a thorough review of your data. You need to process, analyze, and report, and FormPiper can once again make that job incredibly easy with a single convenient dashboard that shows you everything you need to know about the performance of your consumer finance program in one convenient location. You should be investing in data and reporting because it is the best way to ensure that you are consistently hitting your own standards and living up to your customers’ expectations.
Invest heavily in the follow-up, using FormPiper to support you every step of the way, and ensure that your pitch and delivery are actually helping you achieve your preferred outcomes. Otherwise, it’s all just window dressing.
Ultimately, the best investment you can make in your business is to center the customer experience in all things, and the best way to do that with regard to your consumer finance program is with FormPiper. With FormPiper’s robust capabilities and a total focus on the customer, you will be well on your way to realizing your retail business ambitions and reaping the rewards of smart investments.