Why Buy Here? An Insider’s Look
Buy Here. Buy Now. Here’s Why.
“Thanks to our Matthews Cash AutoAwards program we are seeing our customers shopping with us first.”
Imagine your dealership being one of three Chevrolet dealerships in a 15-mile radius. Are you feeling a bit uncomfortable?
This is a reality for Matthews Auto. The New York based auto dealer specializes in both new and used vehicles, and is a franchise owner of 10 automotive brands including Ford, Volkswagen, Subaru and Chevrolet.
In this month’s AutoAwards blog, Rob McLaughlin, Operations Manager of Matthews Auto, shared his loyalty strategy. We learned how he positively impacts his bottom line using his Matthews Cash AutoAwards program to gain a competitive edge inside the volatile automotive markets of New York and Pennsylvania.
Matthews Auto launched its original rewards program with the AutoAwards team in 2006, the same year that the company made the leap to a one-price selling strategy. The results Rob says are not only astounding, but measurable!
Q: Rob, since launching your loyalty program what has been the most profound change at your dealership?
ROB: In nine years, we have seen our business grow steadily alongside our Matthews Cash AutoAwards program. We now have approximately 22,000 active members. Active members is the key phrase here. There is so much competition out there today you need every advantage you can get to reach your customers.
Q: Do you attribute this success to your rewards program?
ROB: Yes, there is a lot of marketing out there you can’t be certain if it brought your customers to your door, and that includes television and Internet marketing. With a loyalty rewards program, you have a direct pulse on your customers and you can measure whether you are engaging them or not. Plus, you can use this information to continue to target and reward them, so they continue to want to do business with you.
Q: How is this success reflected in your sales department?
ROB: Thanks to our Matthews Cash AutoAwards program we are seeing our customers shopping with us first. For example, in one of our markets we are one of three Chevrolet dealerships in a 15-mile radius, but we are the only ones with a loyalty program! Our customers know going in they have a rebate that they can utilize at our dealerships and nowhere else! Customers understand they have earned this rebate and value that tremendously. This makes a huge impact on seeing repeat customers return for more business. It changes the way we operate, too. The first thing we ask a customer when they arrive is: Are you a member of our Matthews Cash AutoAwards program? From there we look up their account balance, and they know we have something the other dealerships do not.
Q: Is your loyalty program helpful for winning new customers?
ROB: Absolutely, new customers want immediate incentives, and our loyalty program gives us that as well. It is true our customers love our one-price strategy, and that we respect them and we do not play games with them. And that is all great, but what they find most valuable is right at delivery they walk out of our dealership with a program in their hands that will save them hundreds of dollars every year in service, plus our merchant program helps them save money every day. By rewarding our customers up front we tie every customer back to our family of dealerships and keep him, or her, a customer of our dealerships going forward.
Q: Can you describe the impact in your service department?
ROB: Our service retention for not only just the first but also the second and even the third service visits are through the roof. And, not only are we having customers return back to our stores for service more frequently, but we have seen over the years the dollars for each repair order have increased. Because customers know that they are going to receive a percentage back in their Matthews Cash AutoAwards account for every dollar they spend, they choose to do more business with us. In return, we also allow our customers to spend their rewards funds in our service department if they choose or wait and to use them in our sales department when they are ready to buy again. I think the flexibility we give our customers drives the respect we share for each other, which in turn leads to the success of our Matthews Cash AutoAwards program.
Q: As you know your rewards program with AutoAwards has territory exclusivity, so for dealers not in “your” market, why would you recommend they trust the AutoAwards team to launch their future rewards program?
ROB: I would tell those dealerships look what happened to us: Our organization has grown as our program has grown. Your team is actively listening to us and making suggestions on how to improve the operations of our program to make us more successful. You also make everything so easy. You give us the flexibility to put our own pieces in our plan and are 100% behind us on anything we want to try. I like to think you create the outline, and we color it in. The AutoAwards team is by far the best in the business.