The key to delivering a great customer experience is consistently meeting your customer’s expectations. But it’s not just a one-time event. To earn retention and loyalty, you must learn how to navigate the customer lifecycle.

Consumers leave a wealth of information behind as they shop and purchase online. In today’s market, customer profiles are created, and preferences are saved to be better served in the future. Customers come to expect to be treated as individuals and want to know that the company they purchase from remembers their history together.

Leverage Data to Align Your Marketing Message

Using artificial intelligence (AI), your dealership can construct a profile of each consumer that will tell you exactly where they are in their lifecycle. Are they actively searching for a vehicle or just in the beginning stages of research? Did they buy a new vehicle, or are they becoming dissatisfied with the vehicle they currently own? Or will they need service soon? A great data mining platform will give you the answers to these questions and much more.

Monitoring and relaying shopping behavior and engagement with your dealership turns real-time customer data into insights that tell you exactly what your customers want and how to communicate the best deals.

Once you know this information, you can structure your marketing messages to target their specific situation and contact them in the way that will have the greatest impact. By taking advantage of the tools available to make the most of this information, dealers can make a lasting impression, build a relationship, and create a customer for life.

Have a Strong Online Presence to Connect with Customers

Did you know 70% of a buyer’s journey is complete before the buyer even reaches out to your dealership? With the average car buyer visiting two or fewer dealerships before buying, it’s even more vital to connect with customers as soon as they begin their journey.

It’s essential to create awareness of your brand and educate consumers about how you can meet their needs, starting in the digital marketplace. Consumers turn to social media to find out about your dealership and weigh out customer reviews and what you choose to share. You’d be hard-pressed to find a dealership without a website or a Facebook page. A strong online presence has become the industry standard for connecting with customers.

By building consumer relationships early in their shopping journeys, you’ll stand out as a dealership investing in their needs and improving the buying experience. You’ll also be in the right place at the right time to offer insights to increase engagement.

Deliver Worthwhile Communications for a Great Customer Experience

Nurtured leads produce an average 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. Use the information gathered throughout your customer’s journey to personalize your conversations.

By proactively providing them with information about vehicles that match their needs, your dealership can move them along the path to the sale, even keeping them from shopping your competitors. You’ll maintain better gross margins, and they’ll be able to take a shortcut in their journey, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle that matches their needs sooner and with less effort.

Even after making the initial sale, it’s important to continue to build the relationship into one that will last. Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial to make your dealership stand out. Sending regular, relevant messages not only reminds the customer of your dealership but can also put you in the position of “trusted advisor.” You become their dealership.

Automate Every Task So Your Team Can Focus on Their Top Opportunities

When a multi-channel marketing system is employed correctly, the customer will be reminded in a positive way that your dealership is ready to meet their needs and that they are remembered and appreciated. AI-driven automation will keep ongoing interaction, providing the customer with the appropriate information, specials, and other interesting topics. It will retain the preferences of each consumer and how they wish to be contacted.

Your team needs to know how to follow up appropriately with each customer. The capability of automatically assigning actionable tasks to team members eliminates the question of the next steps. Single-platform data-driven intelligence can provide instantaneous and continuous connections with your customers; and quickly automates every task, allowing your dealership team to deliver effective and proactive communications and a consistent experience.

These touchpoints give your customers deals that match their specific needs and wants, whether in the service lane or via mail, email, or social media, giving a shortcut to the sale. The number of steps involved is reduced, saving time for consumers, and giving you a jump on the competition.

The Relationship Doesn’t End; It Only Gets Better

Because of the data you have on each customer, you can foresee when they’ll need service, both for routine and milestone maintenance. You’ll also have a good idea of when they’ll be back in the market for a vehicle for themselves or a family member. In addition, you’ll be able to detect when they have a lifestyle change — a new baby, retirement, or other special circumstance — and be there for them to address their shifting needs.

By anticipating their future desires and necessities, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition again. They’ll feel rewarded for their loyalty, and your sales and service staff will have a customer who already sees the value in your dealership and what it offers.

“I love having a backstory on the customer that I can refer to before having a conversation. My customer knows I have their information, and I’m here to help.”

Mollie Pester, Loyalty Manager at Walser Nissan

Customers today are more informed than ever. They expect an outstanding experience every time they make a purchase. With the right tools, you can move a shopper to become a buyer and keep those buyers coming back to you. By taking the journey alongside your customers, you’ll provide better service to them, and they’ll become part of your dealership’s long-term success.

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