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The cornerstone of any dealership operation is customer loyalty.
However, dealership customer retention marketing is not necessarily a straightforward endeavor. Many dealerships are losing out on supplemental sales from former customers because they do not implement the necessary strategies to remain in constant communication.
This article outlines four of those strategies dealers should consider to boost their dealership customer retention.
4 Dealership Customer Retention Strategies
All dealers should consider the following four tips for boosting customer retention:
1. Provide VIP Experiences for High-Revenue Customers
Dealers should provide their most lucrative customers with experiences that go above and beyond. Those customers have already chosen that dealership over others in the area, so the dealer’s objective switches from lead conversion to reinforcing the existing bond.
To do this, they might consider establishing a VIP program with the following features:
- VIP events. Dealers might host a release party where VIP customers have an opportunity to browse new inventory before the general public.
- VIP services: VIP customers often have busy lives. Dealers can help alleviate those hectic schedules by offering specialized services like test drives from their home or business, free vehicle pickup and delivery for service visits, and an expedited VIP customer service line.
- First choice of new cars. Dealers should consider reserving those new vehicles—particularly ones in high demand—for VIP customers to choose from first.
2. Send Personal Messages
Successful dealers acknowledge that relationships are everything in any business and do more than simply share generic, impersonal marketing messages with their audience.
Instead, they try to keep in touch with them as they do with friends and family, which might include texts, emails, or physical delivery during significant times of the year. These events might include:
- Spreading the holiday spirit. Dealers might send festive greeting cards during the holiday season. These cards can also serve the dual purpose of announcing seasonal sales.
- Announcing community events. Dealers can also send reminders for local events happening soon. This communication can help build goodwill with customers and the local organizations hosting the events.
- Celebrating anniversaries. Another effective contact method is using purchase anniversaries to remind customers of annual service and maintenance needs (discussed in more detail below).
- Wishing customers a happy birthday. Dealers should have customers’ birthdays on file, making birthday wishes a simple but effective marketing tool.
3. Encourage Routine Maintenance Visits.
Customers who make service center appointments consistently are significantly more likely to make a purchase or lease in the future. As such, dealers should try to persuade them to visit their dealership for routine maintenance. Strategies to compel those customers might include:
- Offering service specials. As mentioned above, frequent service center visits increase the likelihood of future purchases, so offering discounts to encourage those visits is often a wise investment.
- Using automated service reminders. Automating this process ensures that customers receive reminders and should increase regular service visits.
- Educating customers. Educating customers on service and maintenance is often vital because many car owners find it unnecessary. Dealers can post social media ads, write blogs, and send direct mail that emphasizes the value of routine maintenance and the expense of improper care.
4. Rectify Poor Customer Service Experiences
Many customers end dealer relationships because of subpar customer service. Therefore, dealerships should take customer complaints seriously and apply the necessary resources to resolve them quickly.
Strategies for addressing and solving customer complaints might include:
- Addressing it immediately. Customers can become emotional when they are upset. By responding to their complaints as soon as possible, dealers can help control that customer’s emotions before they take to social media or review sites.
- Enlisting a senior staff member. Customers want to know that the dealership is taking their concerns seriously. One way to do that is by assigning the task to a senior team member, who can make a quick decision to solve the problem.
- Following up. Even after the dealer solves the problem, the customer might still have unfavorable views of the dealership. As such, dealers should follow up to decide whether there is anything they can do to make the customer happy.
Customer Retention Requires the Best Digital Solutions
Dealers should consider the strategies above to take advantage of every opportunity to extract maximum value from each customer. Seizing these opportunities is vital to gaining a competitive edge over competitors.
However, optimizing dealership customer retention requires the industry’s premier retention platform that continuously engages customers and builds long-term relationships.
Contact us today and discover how Affinitiv’s Loyalty solutions can help your dealership drive the high customer satisfaction necessary to create rewarding relationships and boost customer retention.
All | September 19, 2023