AutoAlert Service-to-Sales Blog

Unlocking Customer Loyalty: Is Your Dealership’s CRM Up to the Task?

Brand loyalty is inevitable for consumers as they navigate through life. Sometimes it’s instilled by others, but more often, it’s a consistent experience the customer has with a brand that creates loyalty and retention. You can see this with sports teams (Go Chiefs!), clothing brands, coffee preferences, vehicle makes and models, and of course, where customers choose to do their business.

With only 25% of car buyers returning to dealerships that charged above MSRP, customers’ repeat business with your dealership comes down to the measure of customer loyalty and greatly outweighs all other marketing endeavors.

When you focus on the customer experience and retaining customers, you will have higher front and back grosses. The vehicles traded in by your customers will sell faster on your pre-owned lot, saving you thousands from auction costs, shipping, and floor plan prices. You’ll also benefit from higher CSI scores and positive customer reviews.

Not All Service Visits Have Equal Value

Customers want an easy shopping and service experience personalized to their needs. Marketing using data mining and behavior-predicting software tools allows a dealership to communicate timely, relevant offers to consumers in the ways they prefer to be reached.

Consumer data (beyond the transactional) must be gathered, stored, analyzed, and, most importantly, made actionable in real-time, dynamic, intelligent ways, and accurately predict customer wants and behaviors. CRMs were, and are, great for what they were designed for, but they need to be more in an increasingly competitive market.

These days, customers expect a seamless, personalized, and beneficial experience – something a CRM is too limited to deliver alone.

AutoAlert CXM finds patterns that allow you to increase purchase and service frequency by offering customers already in your database benefits that fit their needs at just the right time. It can also alert your team when sold customers are in-market, if your customer has yet to be in service, or if they are looking online or shopping at a competitor dealership.

Customer experience management programs are the most effective way to differentiate your dealership from the competition and engage customers.

Where and When Do I Begin?

Technology updates, new body styles, and competitor vehicles can make it harder to keep your customers loyal to a brand, but statistics show that implementing an upgrade process earlier in the customer lifecycle increases customer retention and brand loyalty.

A good place to start is your service drive. Your dealership will typically have more customers driving into service every day versus walking in your front door. A Customer Experience Management (CXM) tool will notify you (in real-time) when a service customer can upgrade vehicles today.

76% of car buyers bought their next vehicle from the dealership that performed their regular maintenance. – NADA

Another area to focus on to increase customer retention is an analysis of your previous sales patterns for first-time and repeat customers. You might be surprised by the results. While it is important to increase your customer database, data shows it costs a dealer $650 to sell to first-time customers. Your already sold customers are easier to resell and more profitable!

Am I Loyal to a CRM or to My Customers?

There was a time when a well-engineered CRM stored customer purchase data was state of the art in software tools for dealerships. That data is still important, but given the highly competitive automotive landscape, it takes more than purchase histories to provide the experience customers expect.

Narrow, limited technology leaves very little room for your dealership to grow. It’s not learning or delivering at a rate that will keep your dealership ahead of the curve, whereas modern technology that is consistently being examined and made better is constantly taking in new information about your customers, analyzing it, and creating deliverables that meet your customers where they currently are in their vehicle lifecycle.

The old, time-based CRM approach is no longer adequate to retain customers, and data analytics alone are not enough. Automotive CRM platforms such as AutoAlert CXM can automate tasks and give you the right data to understand your customers’ shopping patterns and make them actionable in ways that provide a seamless customer experience for sales opportunities today and for customer retention in the future!


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