Customer loyalty is one of the biggest pillars of a successful business. Like in every other industry, auto dealerships, repair shops, and others businesses in the auto industry depend on a loyal customer base and a vibrant customer retention strategy for growth and survival.
The cost of acquiring new customers is quite expensive, with businesses spending up to 7 times more to acquire a new customer over what it costs to keep an existing one. Selling to existing customers is also much easier – by at least 50% – compared with selling to new customers.
Despite the benefits presented by maintaining existing customers, many businesses in the auto industry still invest loads of resources in acquiring new customers. And even though new customers still bring value to the business, you should always ensure your existing customers are satisfied and more likely to give you repeat business. After all, you don’t really add any value when you let go of your customer after spending time and money to acquire them.
1. Use data analytics to understand the customer
Data has disruptively transformed the way businesses interact with customers. When customers buy a car or have work done on their cars, they often leave names, emails, and demographic information that can be used when creating and implementing marketing campaigns. You can use this information to send special offers and discounts on their birthdays or other special occasions.
You can also use this information to inform future promotional strategies. Picture this. A customer first comes to your shop and buys a 2-seater Mustang when he’s single and in his early 20s. A few years later, the data you have on him tells you he has since married and has a family. You immediately suggest a Mercedes family van and a few days later, you close the deal with a loyal customer who would have bought the van from any other dealership.
By making concerted efforts to understand your clients, you’ll be able to keep them hooked up to your brand even as you reach out to new customers.
2. Design and implement attractive service plans
The auto industry is one of the few industries that can benefit from sales of both products and services. Cars sold with service plans have a retention rate of close to 60%, which is why service plans offer the best chance of creating brand loyalty following a successful sale. Services plans give your customers the assurance that they won’t have to go back into their pockets to have their cars serviced.
Customers who sign up to your service plan not only guarantee a regular income for you for years, but also give you the opportunity to deliver quality customer service and establish a loyal customer base that will always look to you when making any auto purchase.
3. Stay in touch
The internet has evolved so much for any business to genuinely stay out of touch with customers. The internet provides a rich platform with an assortment of tools to help businesses like dealerships to stay in touch with customers. After closing a sale, link up with customers on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Offer after-sales services and care by keeping them updated with developments in the auto industry, especially concerning their car models.
Use social media and email campaigns wisely to keep your customers engaged by offering exclusive promotions and discounts. Offer free information regarding engine updates, recalls, and any other information that will add value for your customers.
4. Go over, above and beyond
With customer data and the right analytical tools, you can design and implement impactful marketing and customer retention strategies. There is nothing more fulfilling for a customer than knowing their dealership or repair shop is always anticipating their needs. Such customers will thank you by becoming avid followers of your brand won’t forget you when buying their next car.
5. Add value
Lastly, always look to add value by innovating and staying informed on industry trends. Always listen to your customers and find new ways of tackling their challenges. Engage them on a regular basis to discover what they are looking for and always find ways to deliver it to them. Pass on new information and tech updates to your customers to set yourself apart from the competition.
At the end of the day, communication, using analytical data, mapping your clients’ needs, and good PR will help you formulate a customer loyalty strategy for your auto brand. With the right strategy, you will have inched closer to the holy grail of customer retention: a loyal customer base to help you grow your business.