4 Simple Actions for Improving Customer Retention

Retention Strategy for Dealerships

4 Simple Actions for Improving Customer Retention

October 2, 2019

You got ’em. You love ’em. You cannot live without ’em … 

They’re your customers!

You’ve worked hard to earn their business and you deserve the best shot at keeping it.

Today, that means using data-mining and data-actionizing (is that a word yet?) dealership software to build amazing customer experiences.

Data. It sounds like numbers, cold stats, and analysis, not relationships. BUT it’s not just about numbers – it’s about creating options for your customers and staying connected throughout the customer journey.

It’s about putting the brakes on defection and boosting your retention strategy.

Getting and staying connected

The first place you want to connect with all potential customers is online. Studies from Autotrader this summer show that car buyers spend 59% of their time doing research online. They also turn to opinions from family and friends on social media. By the time they come to you, they’re usually ready to buy.

More than 50% of buyers will make initial contact as an up, versus calling or chatting online. Just a few years ago, consumers were visiting at least five lots. Today it’s two or fewer before buying. So, it’s imperative that you engage with them as soon as they step foot on your lot.

Especially if they’re previously sold customers. If you fast track the customer journey and make their entire experience easier, they’ll be less likely to defect.

Speaking of previously sold customers …

Focusing on current customers is becoming increasingly critical in this competitive market.

Sure, you could count on your Facebook page to stay in touch. A strong online presence has become the industry standard for connecting with customers.

But I’m guessing “standard” isn’t what you’re shooting for. And standard isn’t going to get and hold the attention of those with a wandering car-buying eye.

To exceed customer expectations, you need to deliver personalized messages. Has one of your customers started shopping the competition’s lot? What about that customer whose warranty is about to expire and has been in your service drive recently? How about a very motivated car buyer that’s been vehicle shopping online a lot in the last week? Wouldn’t you love to know about these?

Data-mining and data-actionizing (oh look, it is a word!) software will allow you to craft personalized offers that make sense to your customers – and give you a jump on the competition. After all, you’ve already earned their business once!

Brick-and-mortar is alive and well …

There’s no denying that the internet is a huge powerhouse for both consumers and businesses. When it comes to car sales, though, brick-and-mortar still rules. It’s where the actual sale happens. No matter how much research is done online, consumers still want that test drive and the reassurance that they’re on the right track, with the right car and the right dealership.

Playing devil’s advocate, let’s say you did need to worry about ecommerce. Recent studies say the best way to compete with it is by providing outstanding customer experiences to build long-term relationships. Again, look for a data tool that helps with customer retention. One that allows everyone on your team to address a customer by their first name. One that delivers personalized offers the competition can’t touch.

These offers actually drive customers to your dealership, because you can know things like:

  • “Car position” data and analytics
  • Shopping behavior and demographics
  • A payment that would be reasonable to them (about the same or even less than their current)
  • How to reach them with personalized deals

The most advanced solutions create and deliver the best deals for each customer. They also automate the way your sales staff presents them, keeping your entire team on the same page and making car buying seamless for your customers.

Consistency, consistency, consistency …

Once you’ve put in the effort to extend personalized offers to your customers, it becomes equally important to be consistent with that information.

That’s what a great data tool does. It keeps all communications – in store, in service, via text, online, etc. – consistent across each dealership interaction.

No matter when or where a customer engages with you, you want to be able to pick up right where you left off. Customer Jean has been talking with Mike for a few days, but it’s his day off? No problem – Sam can easily continue the conversation and take the next step. Joe walks in with his emailed deal in hand? Imagine his reaction when the receptionist knows his name and why he’s there.

Consumers today are more informed (with higher expectations) than ever. They want an outstanding experience every time they make a purchase – and that extends to car sales. To deliver the best possible experience for every buyer, look for a dealership tool that:

  • collects and analyzes data
  • handles your marketing
  • provides sales and service lane solutions
  • keeps your team on the same page with every single customer

Give your customers personalized offers that match their needs and wants. Whether in the service lane or via mail, email, or social media, provide turbo lanes in their buying journey. Reduce the number of steps involved, save time for consumers, and get ahead of the competition.

And because your team is using a tool that keeps them connected with every customer and every deal, your sales will continue more smoothly and quickly than ever before.

Provide your customers with unmatched offers and seamless experiences, and watch your defection drop!

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