Creating A Loyal Customer Base

When customers hit your showroom floor and you’re on your best sales game, nothing feels better. You spend some time, take them for a spin, get them to sign and figure out your numbers before nailing that next deal. Yes, when things are moving, it’s a great feeling, but it shouldn’t stop there. That one sale can mean so much more. A family is normally a family of two, three or more! Everyone has friends and even if they are a lone customer, they may need a vehicle again a few years down the line. This is when you realize that loyal customers are the best kind.

You’ve read it before and we’ll write it again, it’s not all about dollars and cents. If you offer a good customer service experience, along with a competitive price, then you’ll be a tough dealer to beat. Long term relationships are not based on beating the guy down the block by $500. Customers forget details like that. We put together a few tips for you to think about when trying to hold on to your valued customers.

Loyalty programs are a huge incentive to keep your customers coming back, but it’s what you offer that makes the difference. Free inspections for the lifetime of their vehicle gets them back into your showroom and service center once a year. This can give a boost to service, but it gets them on your showroom floor while they wait for their vehicle. It’s a great opportunity to make them an offer they can’t refuse just in case they want to trade up or if someone in the family is ready to buy. Free oil changes, referral incentives and major discounts on tune-ups are a major plus too. Yes, you’re spending a little to get them back in the door, but think of it as a marketing budget.

Stay in touch. It’s a great idea to check in with your customer to see if they’re happy with their new ride a few weeks down the road, but after that, you need to keep the lines of communication open. These days, it’s all about social media. Before they leave the showroom, make sure they’re aware of your Facebook, Snapchat or any other social media pages. Constantly update your content and keep them aware of promotions or any events coming soon. Make them laugh from time to time. Keep them engaged. When they’re ready to buy again they’ll feel like they’re part of something.

The little details matter. You may not realize it, but the little things matter in a big way to your customers. Are the vehicles clean? We inspected multiple lots with garbage in the backs of vehicles and trucks with water-filled beds. Not a selling point. Make sure the waiting area is clean and smells good. Have fresh coffee and water at all times. A little something to eat would be great and always have kid-friendly alternatives. If you have a couple of TVs, see who’s waiting in the area and ask if they want to see the same news loop, or if one children’s show may help. Is the Wi-Fi working? Post the password clearly. Always be on the move. Always be looking out for the comfort and overall experience. Even if they don’t buy today, they’ll remember the positive atmosphere and friendly staff.

Are you active in your community? It takes some time, but when you’re involved with your local community, the community takes notice. Join local Facebook groups when accepted. People talk and the word will get around on social media if you’re involved in local charities, school districts, and fundraisers. Let groups like the Girlscouts or Boyscouts utilize the dealership during an event. In fact, make the event centered around them. You’ll be glad you helped, and it’ll only help business. Once one or two Moms start talking you up online, there’s no stopping the wave of positive energy.

Give them a little recognition.

You see it all the time on Facebook. People love getting 275 Happy Birthday messages from their friends and thanking everyone at the end of the day for all the attention. Customers like being remembered and recognized. Don’t talk about coupons or sales. Just wish them a happy birthday or happy Holiday. Make it look nice and keep the message simple. Yeah, they’ll delete it, but they’ll remember it, and they’ll remember that it wasn’t about taking their money.

It’s all about the experience. That’s what keeps them coming back. The owners and managers need to come out into the light of day and show the customers and sales staff that they are valued. The relationship needs to extend from the very top right down to the bottom. Everyone in the dealership needs to be on the same page and certainly needs to hold the same high standards. Keep these tips in mind, practice them and your customers will be coming back for years to come.

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