I'm sure this is a question you ask yourself daily – "What can I do to improve customer retention at my dealership?" With the ever-growing online reviews and an ever-growing list of car shopping sites, customers are more in control of their buying journey. Since this journey can start long before they arrive at your car dealership, one key factor to successfully tackling the customer retention challenge is to be active in making sure that your dealership has an online presence that is consumer-centric, engaging, and provides a positive experience. Here are some actionable tips to help you start implementing these changes today!
Get to know your customers.
Developing long-term relationships with your customers is key to increasing retention and driving revenue. Building a strong relationship starts with providing exceptional customer service at every touchpoint throughout the sales process. Therefore, the best way to retain a customer is to get to know them, learn about their needs, and make them feel appreciated. If you take the time to listen and understand their needs, you'll be more likely to sell another vehicle — or recommend a service — as they continue to grow in life and need additional cars that fit their changing needs.
You already do a great job of engaging your local community, so keep thinking of other ways you can get your word out there while simultaneously spreading goodwill. How about sponsoring a local adult sports team? Holding animal adoption drives at your dealership through a local shelter? Sponsor a local charity race? Use these opportunities to learn what is important to the people in the community while also getting your name out there and doing some good.
Communicate with your customers.
Whether through social media, email, or phone calls, it is vital that you stay connected with your customers. You can do this by sending an email newsletter once a month or posting content on social media daily.
Don't wait for the customer to come to you. Instead, be proactive about keeping in touch with your customers. Follow up with them after a service appointment or sale. Send them a survey after the sale to see how things went and anything you can improve. If they didn't have the best experience, find out why and see if there's something you can do about it.
Don't ignore the feedback you receive. Whether positive or negative, please take it as an opportunity to grow as a dealership and maybe even learn some new sales techniques.
Have a focus on service.
Vehicles are a significant investment, and as such, your customers will want to know that you're committed to helping them keep their vehicles in tip-top condition. If you've got a service department, it should be well-staffed and able to answer questions and offer advice about the best way for customers to keep their cars running smoothly.
Ensure your service department is up to date on all the latest technologies, not only for today's vehicles but also for future models. Customers are more likely to return if they feel confident that you can help them with any problems that may arise long after they've left your lot.
Focusing on service requires more than simply offering oil changes — though that should be part of the package. You'll also need to provide maintenance contracts and warranties, so your customers have peace of mind when something does go wrong with their new car.
Keep it simple.
It's tempting to bombard customers with discounts and offers, but the truth is that this approach turns most people off. Instead of offering your customers multiple deals and offers that might be too confusing to understand, try to focus on just one or two high-value offers that could be of genuine interest to your target audience.
Give your customers what they want, yes, but don't try to up-sell them the moment they walk in. Customers are more likely to return if you don't make them feel like you're trying too hard to make a sale.
Make service appointments more convenient.
You may think that your customers rely on you to provide them with an enjoyable service experience, but the truth is that they are busy and have many other things to take care of. They prefer a dealership that makes it easy for them to get their car serviced because they want to minimize the hassle and use as little of their time as possible.
Your dealership needs to make the service visit more convenient for customers by providing them with the option of scheduling an appointment online. Go the extra mile by offering a complimentary shuttle service which will transport them back and forth between the dealership and wherever they need to go. This is beneficial for both your customers and your dealership because it helps clients book their appointments in advance and at a time convenient for them while also giving you a better estimate of how much work you will have at any given time.
These tips will help you retain the customer and lead them back to your business, which tends to be a more profitable experience for car dealerships.
Restocking inventory, advertising, marketing, and training are factors in this new digital car-buying world. The dealerships who establish a solid online presence and can adapt to the many changes that span across all aspects of their business will be the ones who succeed.
The bottom line is that there are many ways to attract customers, but keeping them is crucial, too. Applying these techniques to your business will give you a leg up on the competition and secure your place at the forefront of your industry.