Everyone wants repeat loyal customers to do all their automobile servicing with our dealership. Also, most sales pro’s want customers to send us their friends and family to buy and continue to buy all their cars from our store.
Wanting a high level of customer retention and accomplishing that goal are two different things! In this article, we want to share an entire process for achieving this objective, step by step.
The first element of customer loyalty is a fantastic buying experience! What makes a tremendous buying experience can be broken down in the two key areas — the peak or most exciting part of the experience and the end, how it wraps up. For any given experience those are the two most memorable portions.
More often than not, the most exciting part of the buying experience (the peak) ends up being a negative during negotiations when a lack of transparency or misaligned information on the lot ends up being contrary to what the customer researched. Instead, make the peak experience for the customer the positive interaction they have with the people at the dealership! For instance, make the customers feel welcome with a warm introduction to the service department, make this a peak or memorable part of the sales experience!
More warm team involvement experiences like this can make closing the deal significantly more natural for the salesperson, and will provide the customer with a positive perception of trust and confidence in the service department -inevitably leading that customer into a long-term relationship we all define as “retention”. Sales sells the first car and service sells the rest, so make sure a phenomenal service walk happens before they leave the dealership.
The end part of the delivery needs to ensure they are involved in multiple channels of communication from the dealership moving forward. Yes, they are already in your CRM, but how do they prefer to communicate? What social media do they use? What’s in it for them if they follow you through these means? Hey, a Facebook group where you’re customers can watch entertaining or informative videos from the people they worked with at your dealership can help them maintain a bond long after they left your store.
Ensuring your customers connection to you through more ways than just your salesperson’s ability to follow up with the CRM is going to be critical to loyalty! For the dealers who want to drive up customer retention and relationship development using tools like video are especially compelling. If a picture is worth 1000 words, then how many words is a 20-second voicemail worth? However many words you can say and 20 seconds of course! Not very memorable. Follow up by personalizing videos to loyal customers to ensure your customers feel special and remember your salesperson!
Another tip for customer retention is to create an atmosphere that helps retain your employees! That’s right, keeping salespeople on your team, promoting from within, and having employee retention strategies like coaching and people development will help you keep customers long term.
Regularly asking for and receiving referrals is another great part of customer retention many people overlook. We believe that it’s a sign of success when your customer is sitting at the Thanksgiving table along with three or four other customers of yours, and your name comes up because of all the cars they’ve bought from you! This is an extreme example, but conversations around common ground happen all the time, and they drive up loyalty. Become associated with your customers, be their go-to guy they need advice for themselves, or someone else.
Finally, get rid of the after-sale mindset! If the average household buys 30 cars in a lifetime then we need to treat our customers like they’re always in-between sales. If they’re in-between purchases, we are going to follow up consistently! Host quarterly events for your customers, diligently follow up with their service cycle etc. There are many facets to creating top notch customer loyalty. If implemented with the right mindsets, all of them can vastly impact long term success.