For owners the new car smell fades but the bond with their automobile doesn’t…at least not immediately. Unfortunately their loyalty is still up in the air. What you do before, during and most importantly after the sale that will “nurture” loyalty?
Remember, you’re not just selling a car you’re selling an experience that will impact the entire “customer lifecycle” relationship.
As a new car dealer you strive to get the customer to come back for service, recommend their friends and family, and buy their next car from you. In order to do that you must build a relationship throughout the ownership cycle that gives them reason to come back. As we all know, the customer’s sense of ownership is emotionally driven (pun intended) and so is their customer loyalty.
Here are three dealer features that can be used to build more loyal relationships:
Accessories Department…before F&I
A great step to build a stronger connection with the car they just purchased is to offer customization through accessories.
“The simple act of selecting accessories for a car they are about to purchase increases the sense of ownership before they even sign a financial commitment.”
Many consumers want accessories but find their dealer doesn’t offer them. Availability of accessories was influential to selecting a dealer by 23% of all buyers according to an Automotive Accessory Market Report. By offering accessories you not only increase sense of ownership but, also fill a need for your customers.
Service Department…after F&I
Car maintenance is critical during the ownership lifecycle. A positive way to increase the buyer’s responsibility towards that new car is to provide a complimentary maintenance schedule before they leave the dealership.
“Let them know that your service department cares about the maintenance as much as the owner.”
Over the course of ownership the opportunity to provide good customer service can be presented over and over again if your customers use your service and parts department. Customers who use your service department are 70% more likely to purchase their next car from your dealership.
Dealership Website…before and after the sale
First impressions and experiences usually decide the fate of all customer relationships. But, what some fail to realize is that many customer first impressions happen without them ever visiting your dealership. 86% of car buyers start by going online to dealer and manufacture websites. Once your customer buys that car you now have the chance to build upon and leverage that relationship. Your website should contain tools such as CarFolks.com to acquire recommendation and complete “reputation management”. Websites that present customer sign ups, feedback options, parts and accessories catalogs, and service promotions present an opportunity for stronger “retention” relationship with the dealership.