Happy New Year! Maybe your resolution for 2013 was to exponentially expand your customer base. Kudos to you if you’ve accomplished said feat. Now, after working so hard to land new customers and prospects, your resolution for 2014 is simple: TO KEEP THEM!
With the advancements in automotive direct mail, social media marketing, direct response marketing, demographics research and on and on … capturing (at the very least) new customer attention isn’t always the toughest part of keeping a business running – it’s maintaining and nurturing relationships, sale after sale. After all, new customers are usually not the most lucrative – you have to slash prices and offer crazy incentives sometimes just to get them to sign on the dotted line. Repeat business, on the other hand, can be seriously profitable. They tend to visit your service bay more often, they’ll consider you as the first stop when they need to add a vehicle to their household and they’ll refer friends and family if they enjoy working with you. Plus, the more they work with you, the more likely they are to trust your prices as being fair – which holds the potential for less haggling down the line.
Of course, the most important thing to do when resolving to build long-term customer relationships is to focus on making customers happy with each and every interaction. That means friendly faces at the service desk, short hold times and helpful voices on the telephone and easy to understand financing and leasing deals without the typical pressure that comes along with stereotypical car sales.
You can also deploy marketing techniques to ensure your current customers know that they are valued. For instance, send out an automotive direct mail invitation to a VIP Sale only available to long-time patrons of your dealership. Send a direct mail postcard after each sale or lease of a vehicle thanking them for their business; consider adding a coupon for a free car wash or oil change with this to help ensure they see what your service department has to offer. Email service reminders once you’ve gotten a customer into your system and offer an easy one-click method for scheduling their maintenance. All of these are simple, personal ways to demonstrate your willingness to go above and beyond in order to retain their loyalty.
All that being said, you run the risk of coming on too strong – so try and limit the correspondence to what’s necessary. For instance, if a customer recently purchased a brand new car, there’s really no need to send them a mailer within the month with leasing or sales deals on similar makes and models. This will make you seem aloof and potentially even desperate.
Customers – like romantic prospects – require consistent attention to remain loyal. Keep the lines of communication open and offer tailored deals via automotive direct mail and other marketing modalities to keep them on the hook this year – and well into the future.