Last month we introduced the concept of the importance of maintaining the “virtual dealership,” or the presence of a dealership as viewed solely through online channels, and the importance of maintaining it with the same care as is taken to maintain the physical dealership. The reality is that if consumers don’t like what they see online, they will never make it in to the physical dealership, no matter how beautiful the dealership is, how good the deals are, or how professional the staff is.
This month we’re covering what’s next. After your virtual dealership is optimized to drive potential customers to your dealership’s site, after processes are in place to keep those customers on your site and bring them in the front door, after the sale has been closed: now what?
In today’s highly competitive automotive landscape, maintaining a well-functioning sales and marketing process that converts highly informed consumers into happy customers who spread the word about your business is practically essential. One of the distinct advantages of a well-optimized virtual dealership and a cohesive digital marketing strategy is that all those clicks and cookies create data. LOTS of data.
Leveraging the wealth of data left by all those digital footprints can quickly propel your dealership into the same sphere as the neighborhood grocery store for the consumer in terms of trust and essentiality when it comes to any automotive need.
One of the foundations of 3 Birds Marketing’s digital solutions is the House newsletter, a seemingly innocuous marketing piece that provides invaluable business intelligence in the form of customer behavioral data. When this information is effectively utilized, your dealership becomes an essential and trusted knowledge base for the consumer. The House newsletter demonstrates to existing sales and service customers that their dealership doesn’t only want to talk to them every three years when it’s time to trade in, or every 5,000 miles when it’s time for an oil change. The soft sell works: pieces such as staff family recipes or community outreach coverage go a long way towards building loyal advocates out of happy customers, and, when it comes to the bottom line, customer retention is every bit as important, more so even, than customer acquisition.
If a customer has made it all the way through the sales process at your dealership and leaves a happy customer, that is without a doubt an accomplishment in itself and a testament to your dealership’s staff and processes. However, the true benefit comes after the sale: if your dealership can keep those same customers coming back over and over again, you will have already taken care of the hard part of getting them through the front doors. As a consumer yourself, would you rather have to search for a dealership every time you want to trade in your vehicle or get repair work done or instead go to one place that you trust based on past experience?
General Motors places the value of customer loyalty at $700 million; that is, for every percentage point that GM can increase its customer retention rate, they gain $700 million in annual revenue (The Wall Street Journal). Numbers like these demonstrate what we see every day at 3 Birds in our clients’ reporting data. Repeated relevant communication with the customer base over a period of time solidifies your dealership's relationship with your customers, it builds customer advocacy, and to get right to the bottom line, it builds revenue. Contact us to get started.
White, Joseph. (2012) “What’s Customer Loyalty Worth? GM Has a Number.” The Wall Street Journal.