Loyal Customers…the Secret Recipe to Strong Profits.
When something delightfully unexpected happens, we simply cannot wait to share that experience with others. This kind of surprise – the kind we can’t keep bottled up – is the response you must have generated from your interaction with your customers.
When your customers are pleasantly surprised by their encounters with your dealership and its people, they will talk about you…a lot. When your customers consistently talk favorably about you to others, new loyal (and highly profitable) customers are created. As we all know, there is nothing more powerful than a personal testimonial to promote your business, so get started surprising your customers today.
So, how do you create these kinds of unbeatable personal testimonials?
Launch a Branded Loyalty Program.
Customers will brag about you, be more loyal to you, and spend more money with you when you have the courage to surprise and delight them every time they visit your dealership. One proven way to create such strong customer engagement with your dealership is to reward them for their continued loyalty by launching a dealership branded, rewards-based loyalty program at your dealership.
Dare to be Different.
Don’t be fooled with the “one loyalty program fits all” pitch. Most OEM programs are designed to level the playing field and instill “sameness” in their dealer base, but is that what you want for your business? Sameness is one of the worst possible traits for a dealership and always leads to reduced profits. Your loyalty program should always have the ability to be customized based on your specific goals, so have the courage to break the mold and think creatively. Your customers will appreciate the effort. It is this courage to be different that your customers will remember and ensure you clearly establish yourself in a different league than your local competitors. Think about it, if your program is the same as the guy down the street, what is the point?
Surprise and Engage Your Best Customers.
A successful customer loyalty program is one that always engages your customers on an emotional level. Keep in mind, as your customers’ expectations grow, your efforts to surprise, reward and engage them will position your dealership as different, special and worthy of their business. These elements are critical to building customer loyalty.
Here are a few ideas for establishing a successful loyalty program:
1. Offer exciting rewards or incentives your customers want.Show your customers your desire to offer an unbeatable experience by having the courage to be creative with your program benefits.
2. Increase reward or incentive levels as a customer’s loyalty (and spending) increases. Customers will appreciate your growing gestures of thanks and keep coming back.
3. Create an atmosphere of surprise. Occasionally add surprise rewards or incentives for no apparent reason. Done right, this will dramatically change the way your customers value your dealership.
Driving Loyal Customers Is a Dealership-Wide Effort.
A successful loyalty program should incorporate every area of the dealership that might touch a customer. This includes Sales, F&I, Service, Parts, the cashier – and why not the customer lounge and parking lot? A successful customer loyalty rewards program that builds excitement will look for all opportunities to engage customers and surprise them. Consider the possibilities:
1. Delight. Mary enters the service lane for scheduled maintenance. The advisor informs her she’s accumulated enough reward points to earn a “free” dinner for her and her family at a popular area restaurant. Do you think she might tell others about that experience – and start the word-of-mouth ball rolling?
2. Surprise. Mike visits your showroom. Your salesperson builds value into the sale and the dealership by proudly explaining what makes your dealership different, including the valuable benefits offered in your loyalty program. Your salesperson smartly shares with Mike how it works and highlights the exclusive benefits your program offers, such as exclusive discounts available at local area merchants.
3. Communicate. Often a small, but timely reminder of how the customers‘ points are accumulating can drive their continued loyalty. For instance, remind customers they’re just points away from earning a free detail at that their next service visit…think they won’t be back?
These days, every successful dealership must do more to create customer interactions that leave the customer “wowed.” If not, the result is to be viewed as a commodity, no different from a dozen other competitive dealerships in the customer’s market area.
The right loyalty program, one that truly helps to differentiate your dealership, is one that helps you create value in your business and pride in your employees. When customers and your community recognize your dealership’s unique difference, they’ll spread the word and help your business grow by the most powerful and least expensive marketing available, which is a personal testimonial.