Launch A Dealer-Branded Rewards & PPM Program NOW to be ready for a Very Profitable Future.
By Jon Greene, Vice President
It is still too early to fully understand the way that COVID-19 will permanently change our country, our industry and customers. But as we all know, much has changed already. The car buying process, the service experience, and traditional communication methods have all been overhauled by most dealers in an effort to survive. However, in the midst of this change, the focus to retain the most profitable customers still remains a top priority.
As we begin 2021, it begs the question for all dealers to ask themselves, “What is the magic formula to keep our customers loyal?”
The answer for more and more cutting-edge dealerships is launching a highly creative, dealership- branded rewards/PPM program designed to drive new customers, add substantial profits and build a wall around the most profitable customers they already have.
A successful loyalty program will keep your customers talking about you, spending money with you and becoming fiercely loyal to your dealership. So, what should you look for in a successful rewards program? Ask yourself…
#1-Does it build value to close the sale?
The best loyalty programs give your salespeople an exclusive tool that will help them build value in your dealership as part of the vehicle sale. If your salespeople can’t leverage the benefits of your program to demonstrate why your prospects should buy from you, that is a huge missed opportunity.
#2-Does it reward your customers for staying loyal to you?
A truly successful rewards program always includes a rewards system that has the ability to identify, track and reward your best customers when they remain loyal. These point structures should be easy for your customers to understand, allow you to measure the worth of each customer and reward top customers with surprise rewards for hitting spending benchmarks set by you.
#3-Does it offer value outside of the dealership?
A truly successful loyalty program should offer customers value in between service visits. For instance, think about offering additional incentives at local restaurants, retail stores, golf courses and other local merchants. Don’t just “wow” them at your dealership, make sure they remember you in between visits as well. That is where the ever-important top of mind awareness comes from.
#4-Does it effectively communicate with your customers?
A successful loyalty program offers an automated digital system and branded app that gathers information and sends customized contacts with the right message, at the right time. Additionally, the system should offer time-sensitive promotions, free gifts, and contests, as well as customized loyalty certificates.
#5 -Does it help you build long term loyalty?
Successful loyalty programs should ensure the customer is earning towards future rewards at all times. Build a program that surprises and rewards customers, with a customized gift they find valuable when they spend with you.
#6-Does it include a highly profitable Pre-Paid Maintenance (PPM) Program?
Successful rewards programs should also include a dealership-branded PPM program that is highly profitable, easy to launch and allows the dealership to keep ALL of the profits.
#7-Does it allow you to stand out from your competitors?
A successful loyalty program should create a HUGE advantage over your competition. If your program is the same as your competitor down the street, how does that make your dealership any different? Also, if your program provider does not offer territory exclusivity — ask for it.
In closing, a truly successful loyalty program should contain a valuable mix of “hard” benefits (points, rewards, and discounts at the dealership) as well as “soft” lifestyle benefits (outside of the dealership) that promote your long-term goals, as well as offer surprise rewards to your most valuable customers. Today’s customers are expecting more than ever and if we can have the courage to be different and offer a program overflowing with value, they will talk about us, spend money with us and remain fiercely loyal to us.
Since our founding in 1991, AutoAwards has been widely recognized as the industry-leader in automotive and marine loyalty marketing, earning longstanding relationships with many of the industry’s most successful dealer groups and OEMs. AutoAwards understands the #1 predictive factor for dealer growth and profitability. Customer loyalty is the most successful way to build revenue. AutoAwards has always recognized the need for top notch, highly creative, effective loyalty strategies in large and small businesses alike. Contact us online to talk about dealer loyalty or call 302-696-6000.