It’s no secret that satisfied customers are the goal, but what about satisfied customers who keep coming back? Whether it’s when they need a new vehicle or when they need an oil change, a loyal customer is a satisfied customer with perks.
It’s time to shift the way we think about customers; they’re opportunities, not just good for word-of-mouth marketing. This shift allows us to think about who to focus on, a different kind of selling that’s cheaper and more efficient than just selling to new customers all the time.
Improving your customer loyalty can save you money while you’re getting more money; it actually costs 7x more to create a new customer than to retain an old customer. So focus on those customers that just left your dealership. You’re not done with them yet!I
The Retention Principle
The key to creating loyal customers, i.e. retaining customers, is to create a relationship with them while you have them in your dealership the first time. A relationship is built on trust, and trust has to be earned.
In other words, the key to retaining customers is the same as selling: build trust with your customers. This might sound repetitive, but it should. A customer that trusts you is more likely to engage with you, to buy from you, and to drive into your service lanes.
Organizational Practices for Success
One of the first steps you can take is to implement a ranking system in your CRM for loyal customers. There’s plenty of ways to do this, but you can base it off of engagement or even exit surveys. This is a great first step; you’ll be able to target the people who seem most loyal to your dealership.
Like everything else, you need to analyze your strategy and measure what you’re doing as you go. You, and your higher ups, want to know how every marketing dollar is being used. Show them results and the easy process to get there.
Make sure to be patient and deliver quality information to your customers. Don’t annoy them by blowing up their inbox with service offers the moment they walk out of your dealership. Think about what your customers need, and segment them based on those different needs.
Time vs Relevance
The biggest stumbling block that dealerships have when trying to drive loyalty deals with when to start marketing to customers. You want to be as relevant as possible when it comes to what you send people, but it’s difficult to know when the customer is ready for what you’re sending.
You can’t always know how relevant an email can be, but you can try to get a feel for how often someone would need an oil change. You can use time to make your message as relevant as possible. Measure the average time that people come to you for certain maintenance operations, and use that in your marketing strategy.