You spend a lot of money and time acquiring customers. Don't waste it! In this fast paced digital age, where customer allegiance changes with every new offer that comes out, dealerships need to be constantly evaluating their retention programs and looking for ways to keep the customers that they have already acquired. The key to building relationships is in building trust and keeping your dealership ever present in the consumer’s mind.
1. Customer Retention Starts at the Sale
Make the sale personal, make your customers feel valued and important, and stress that you are at the beginning of a relationship. You can start this relationship by making your leadership transparent. Introducing a new customer to an owner or general manager during the sales transaction sets your customer relationship off on the best foot. It puts forth the simple message: I’m happy that you’re our customer and I’m here to help you at any time.
According to a survey done by Dimensional Research, 42% of B2C customers purchased more after a good service experience, while 52% of B2C customers stopped buying after a bad customer service experience. Create a sales process that provides a pleasant experience for your customer., and they're more likely to come back to you.
2. Keep in Contact After the Sale
If a customer bought from you once, they rarely mind hearing about what you’re doing in the community, what service specials you have, or what new sales specials you’re offering. Get them to like you on Facebook and use the platform’s data segmentation to provide regular and meaningful touches with those customers. This keeps your brand and your people in their minds for that moment when they want to make another purchase. The important thing to remember about this is that you need to show that you know them, so segment your customers correctly using your DMS. Make sure that you aren’t advertising a service special for an oil change to someone who was just in. Anticipate your customer’s needs by understanding what their buying cycle is and when they are in an equity position. An ad offering to take the vehicle they actually have in their garage on trade in is effective. Offering to take in a vehicle they got rid of two years is not. Staying updated on a customer's situation is important to building trust.
3. Create a Loyalty or Incentive Program
If you've done any research into the value of customer loyalty programs, you've no doubt seen case study after case study of the Starbucks loyalty program. That is because Starbucks stated their loyalty program was the key driver in a record quarter in 2013, which saw a 26% increase in profit, and 11% rise in total revenue. The loyalty program has been a focal point of their business ever since.
Give the customer a reason to be loyal. Any complimentary maintenance program is useful to keeping your dealership in their mind. Those programs could be free car washes for life or building free oil changes for life into your sale, but they could also be discounted prices for family members or referral bonuses or offering aggressive trade-in prices for vehicles they own. You develop a relationship with your customer by offering unique incentives that are targeted and personalized. Your DMS is a great repository of this information, and supplementing it with other databases can be helpful. The key though is to keep these programs at the forefront of your customers minds, so regular emails, phone calls or targeted ad buys can help you do this.
4. Build Trust By Asking for Unbiased Opinions After Every Transaction
Asking someone for an opinion while they are at the dealership can sometimes be awkward and create a biased opinion. Maybe they don’t want to say something in front of the person that’s asking for feedback, maybe they haven’t had a moment to reflect on what was right or wrong with the transaction. Regardless, giving someone an opportunity to share their opinion with the owner or general manager gives them a feeling of release and hopefully a clear path to resolution. Respond to negative opinions with real fixes to the issue and make them customers for life.
BONUS: A Fifth Way to Stop Customer Attrition
But, you may have known it. Build positive reviews of customer experiences. Not only do customers enjoy when their voice is associated with a brand, but they are also reminded of your brand when they see positive reviews on social sites from their friends. Find a tool that helps them do that easily and makes it easy for you. Don’t ever stop building trust and defining your value with your customers.