August 2017 saw 76,433 new car registrations according to the SMMT. With this volume, your dealership was no doubt super busy trying to close deals. But, this is just one aspect of the sale, what about customer retention? This is surely key to your revenue and growth?
Your sales team have worked hard to get a happy customer on board, you could say that is the easy part, keeping them happy and turning them into a repeat purchasing customer, now that’s the hard part. So, how would you tackle this? One of the key things is to understand your customer. We live in a modern and digital world where the customer is king. They are used to having what they want within a click of a button, whether it be a car brochure, video of test drive or even the configuration of a vehicle, all within the comfort of their home.
Get to Know Your Customer
So, with all of this activity via online channels you would be naive to think this would stop or change post purchase. When it comes to aftersales using online channels are key, but which ones? This comes down to understanding your customers through the data you have because no two customers are the same, they are all individuals and they expect the aftersales experience to be personalised and tailored to them and their needs. Standard marketing touch points won’t cut it anymore. You need to truly know your customers and the more you know, the more you can make them feel valued because when you reach out to them it will truly be personalised to them.
Ideal Customer Experience
Let me give you a scenario of an ideal customer experience.
Meet John, he is 25, single, likes football, works in telecoms and is active on social media and he has just brought a coupe with sports pack. John is happy as he has the car he was after with an affordable finance package which includes services.
A few months down the line John won’t appreciate receiving a direct mail marketing touch telling them about the great new SUV you have on offer because it’s tailored or personalised to him.
What he would appreciate is a touch point asking him how he is finding the car, is he turning heads? Does his family and friends like the new car? How much mileage is doing? When he comes in for a service he should consider the specialist engine cleaner for his model as it will maximise his fuel consumption and car performance. Further to this he would appreciate a text about the engine cleaner which takes him to a review of the cleaner.
It’s time for John to service his coupe so you send him an email, text and call to remind him that his service is due soon. He decides to book his car in for a service online, the website should ideally be responsive, so it works on mobile and tablet. The process should be simple, with minimum clicks and confirmation confirmed.
When John brings his car in for a service this experience needs to continue. When he is greeted by the member staff who is looking after him he should feel welcomed and they should know these traits about him. They need to ask him about the engine cleaner and remind him of the benefits. Why? Because you are continuing the customer experience and customer journey. It never stops and happens at every touch point, so consistency is key.
There is a huge opportunity for dealerships to get their customer retention on point by creating a consistent customer experience from the very first engagement and touchpoint your customer has with you, through to the first sale and the after sales experience. Dealerships need to embrace the modern consumer and start to speak with them on their terms to stay front of mind and to enhance customer retention.
- Get to know your customers. The more you can learn about them individually the more it will help when it comes to your marketing and communication touch points.
- Consistency is key. Every touch point and interaction with your customer needs to be consistent to keep the customer happy and to increase brand loyalty.
- Get up to speed. We live in a digital world and this needs to be incorporated in your approach and communication to your customers, from your website to your marketing touch points.
- Personalise. Whenever you interact with your customer make sure it’s tailored and personalised to them.