Protecting what you have already invested in acquiring a new customer by keeping them a loyal customer is the key to dealership profitability. Unfortunately, it’s harder than ever these days to create customers for life.
Here are 5 key strategies for getting current customers to come back for more:
1. Make exceptional customer service your competitive advantage. Exceptional customer service begins with doing what you say you will do. It becomes a competitive advantage for your dealership when it permeates everything – from who you hire, to how employees are trained, to how you run your company. There is no replacement for a great customer experience.
2. Stay in touch with customers. You can’t build loyalty if you don’t keep in touch with your customers. You can do this through loyalty programs, couponing, service reminders, email marketing and text messaging. Promotional messages should be a part of your communications strategy, but the key is to provide customers with information that interests or helps them.
3. Make company policies consumer-friendly. Being flexible and understanding of an individual customer’s needs will gain you a reputation for being easy to deal with – and keep those customers coming back.
4. Have a rewards program. Implemented correctly, a rewards program is a great way to build loyalty. Reward your customers for doing business with you and they will keep repeating the cycle.
5. Make it hard for them to leave. Offering customers a way to interact with you when they want to – say, via a personalized website that details everything about their vehicle, when service is due, etc. – makes it easier for them to do business with you and even harder for them to leave.
With women now responsible for 85 percent of all purchasing decisions in the U.S., marketers are always searching for new ways to reach women with offers and incentives. Mobile marketing is the perfect solution, according to a recent Business Insider article.
A recent Google survey showed that 66 percent of smartphone owners use their devices to help them shop while they are in a retail location. An independent survey of 1,000 women by mobile marketer Swirl found that 58 percent of them would like to receive a personalized offer on their smartphone while shopping in-store.
Much has been written about showrooming, the practice of using smartphones to search for lower prices and buy online after visiting a brick and mortar store, but women are also using their smartphones to get product advice and feedback, search for product information, and look for special offers and discounts while they shop. Rather than fear this smartphone-enabled behavior, dealers should find ways to use it to their advantage.
For example, dealerships that utilize technology like uNotifi’s Communicator can provide dealership personnel with a text alert when a customer walks into the dealership and can also deliver personalized coupons and offers directly to a customer’s smartphone. Implementing mobile strategies and technologies that enhance the in-store shopping experience help dealers sell more and incentivize customers to purchase.
The best way to build customer loyalty is to develop more personalized relationships and make sure you are communicating with your customers in the way they want. A good automotive marketing CRM system can help you do this.
For example, uNotifi’s CARS program (Customer Appreciation Rewards System) allows dealers to assign point values to specific purchases or services. Customers value the points they’ve earned and don’t want to lose them, an incentive to keep them coming back to you.
uNotifi helps dealers manage customer relations through a Personalized Information Page (PiP) that provides customers with access to all the service history records for their vehicle.
The PiP is available to dealership customers 24/7 via the Internet, widget or as an iPhone application. At a glance, customers are able to see what vehicles are due for maintenance and what key services – tires, battery, brakes, maintenance – require immediate attention.
The PiP is feature-rich and allows customers to make an appointment, access interactive and mobile coupons, update their vehicle mileage, get directions to the dealer from their current location, select their preferred communication method, and much more.
uNotifi’s system requires no effort from the dealership staff. It runs seamlessly behind the scenes and deposits the allocated points into the customer’s system. Points can be used for future service or can be applied as a dollar amount toward a new vehicle purchase.