Loyalty is important to a dealership, but it's often difficult to retain customers over a long period of time. It can be especially hard for dealerships that want to expand their business by reaching out to more potential customers in new areas. If the challenge is keeping your customer base loyal, the solution is to understand their sentiments.
Customer sentiment is the key to a dealership’s success. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to identify risks and opportunities early on and be proactive in engaging your loyal customers. After all, if you want a long-lasting relationship with your customers, you need to keep in touch often and make sure they have an excellent experience every time they visit your car dealership.
What is customer sentiment?
Customer sentiment is the overall perception of a customer about the quality of service and products that your dealership provides. In other words, it’s what they think of you! When you have good or bad feelings about something, you relay those feelings to others. If a customer has a positive opinion about their experience with your dealership, they are likely to tell their friends and family members so that they can go there too. However, suppose they have negative opinions about their experience (which often happens). In that case, they will likely spread those opinions as well – maybe even leaving negative reviews on social media platforms like Facebook or Yelp! This means that good customer sentiment is crucial for any successful dealership since it will lead directly to more sales opportunities down the road through word-of-mouth recommendations from happy customers treated well by all staff members at each interaction point throughout their visit.
Here are tips any dealership can follow to ensure its loyalty base remains safe while still growing into new markets:
Identify Risks and Opportunities
The first step in protecting your dealership’s customer base is to identify its greatest risks and opportunities for retention. You can do this by analyzing why customers are leaving, including whether the problem is due to inventory, pricing, or another issue. Identify ways in which your current retention efforts have been successful and unsuccessful, including asking customers how you can better serve them long term.
Most dealerships are familiar with the risks and opportunities that can affect their business. The challenge is how to identify, prioritize, and address them before they become a problem.
- Assemble lists of your dealership's top 10 risks and opportunities in each area that could affect customer loyalty (such as service, sales, and product support). This will give you a good starting point for planning efforts to improve loyalty initiatives at your car dealership.
a. A great place to start is your CSI survey results. Comb through your last 30-days worth of surveys and see what areas are consistently heralded or chided. Do they like that you offer a shuttle but don’t like that it takes so long to wait? Do they think your service advisors are friendly but have a hard time understanding their repair orders?
- Prioritize these risks/opportunities based on their potential impact on customer loyalty. Once you have compiled initial lists, prioritize those items that have the greatest potential to hurt or help customer retention efforts by placing them into three categories: high priority (those items with the greatest negative impact), moderate priority (those items with moderate negative impact) and low priority (those items that are likely not important for improving loyalty).
- Address and resolve the risks/opportunities based on the highest priority to the lowest.
Be proactive in engaging your loyal customers
A large portion of your business comes from repeat customers, but did you know that the number one reason people stop buying from you is because they feel ignored? The next step is to take proactive steps to ensure that your loyal customer base stays happy and engaged.
- Respond to customer comments and questions promptly. The best way to do this is by using an automated program where all of your customer communications are organized in one place (it's helpful for team members who don't work directly with customers). This allows you to stay on top of all interactions so you can respond quickly and build loyalty in return.
- Find out what your customers want and need - through surveys, focus groups, etc., then offer them what they want and need - whether it be additional services or products at no cost with their next purchase from us!
- Offer suggestions on ways we can improve our service; listen respectfully when someone has something negative to say about us instead of getting defensive - even if it's not true (because sometimes people complain just because they want attention).
Keep in touch often
A surefire way to keep your customers happy is by staying in touch with them. Not only does this show that you care about their well-being, but it also gives you the opportunity to better understand how they use their vehicles and how much money they spend on auto parts and services. More importantly, staying in touch allows you to stay on top of any issues that might arise before they become too big for your dealership's customer service team—or even worse, a customer—to handle.
- Be the first one to call, text, and email. If you haven't heard from your customer in a while, don't assume they're doing fine and just need a little extra time to respond. Make sure you check in with them regularly, especially at regular service intervals for their specific vehicle
- Ask questions that start with "how" or "what." These questions are great because they help you get to the root of the issue instead of asking what's wrong, which can feel accusatory and defensive to your customers.
- Send an email after every phone call or meeting and thank them for their time—even if there was no resolution or if you didn't end up solving the problem. This helps keep your customers feeling valued and appreciated by your company even if they weren't able to give you any new information during that particular interaction.
Create a better customer experience with shuttle management software
The ultimate dealership customer experience is to offer a shuttle service. The shuttle service is one of the most popular amenities at dealerships. Today's customers expect it as a given and when they need a new car or service, they look for it among the dealer's list of amenities. If you're not offering shuttle service at your dealership, you're missing out on a great opportunity to build brand loyalty, but also to help improve your customer satisfaction score by creating happier customers.
If you're looking to improve your customer experience, sentiment, and loyalty, Quickride is the way to go. Our shuttle service app provides several key benefits.
- Improved customer sentiment: When your customers use Quickride's consumer-friendly platform, they'll be able to rate their drivers, share updates with friends and family members (who can track the location of the vehicle), and leave feedback that helps improve future rides.
- Improved customer satisfaction: The more satisfied your customers are with their ride experience the more likely they are to recommend your dealership as a destination for service or repairs.
- Improved retention: Your best customers want quick access to quality transportation and solutions for keeping them on schedule regardless of weather conditions or traffic delays; this means fewer missed appointments and more time spent at home taking care of personal matters rather than waiting in long lines at bus stops or spending hours in gridlock traffic jams trying desperately not miss an important meeting at work (or worse yet having someone else miss because there was no other option available).
- Improved profitability: Customers who leave the dealership (versus waiting in the lounge) spend more money on their repair orders. An efficient software that gets more people out the door efficiently means they will spend more per repair order and allows your service advisors to have more time to have those conversations.
Keeping your dealership's loyalty customer base safe is a top priority. If you want to reduce your risk of losing customers and increase the value of your business, you need to pay attention to how customers feel about their service experience.
The good news is that there are several ways you can use Quickride shuttle management software to improve your customer sentiment.
Quickride provides tools that allow you to create the best customer experience. We help dealerships stay ahead of their competition by providing innovative ways to keep customers happy and coming back for more.
If you're interested in learning more about how Quickride works or would like to get started, get in touch with us today.