David P. CarlisleAs I get older I find myself focusing on the simpler things in life. Understanding a customer’s experience is ultimately very simple. (1) You buy, (2) you maintain & fix, and (3) you buy again. It is a useful exercise to depict all this using common stereotypes. I call it “The Stereotype.” Don’t get defensive; stay with me on this. You buy it … Stereotypically. In the old days, you researched what vehicle you wanted and did most of the shopping on the internet. You chose and negotiated on the Internet and by phone. You came in with lots of data and, after a lot of waiting, found out from the salesman that all this effort and collected data was irrelevant. You found out about additional dealer preparation costs and processing fees that were mandated by the state. The used car person assessed the scrap value of your current ride, and F&I browbeated you into ordering undercoating, extended warranties, and a security system for your new vehicle. Finally, your salesman said he needs you to give him “all 5s” on the survey the factory will send you … because his family depends on him as a breadwinner and he will get burned if he does not get the very top scores. Besides, he reinforced that you were the most important customer in his life. You emerged, feeling a little dopey after an hour or so, with a new ride and a monthly payment exponentially higher than you planned. OK, a lot has changed here. Now, you get coffee cups in the mail after you close the deal. That takes care of the “buy.” On to service, repair and maintenance.