Are you looking for a way to improve customer relationships and bring in repeat business? It’s a well-known fact that in business, the cost of acquiring a new customer far outweighs the cost of building a long-term relationship. When you own a car dealership, this is a bit more tricky. After all, few people buy a new car every year, and up to 70% of customers in our business slip through the cracks as soon as their warranty expires. There has to be a better way to get return customers, right? In this article, we’ll go over five things you can do to increase the likelihood of long-term customer relationships, and repeat sales when the time to buy again arrives.
- Build Trust from Day One
Disreputable dealerships over the years have stained the car selling business with a poor reputation. In fact, the Better Business Bureau even ranks car dealerships at the bottom of every service category. Mention “car dealership” to a friend or family member, and they’ll often revert to the stereotype of a beady-eyed salesman trying to pull one over on the customer. Because of these impressions, it’s up to individual dealerships to build a better image for themselves and their businesses. Abide by a set of professional guidelines, and teach your team to do the same.
- Be More Transparent
No matter how trustworthy your sales and maintenance staff are, it’s important to build bridges with every customer. When they come for service, practice transparency and allow them to stick around if they want to. Don’t just tell them, show them when you’re repairing and replacing parts. Let them see the damaged part before it’s replaced. If they are unable to stick around, offer to send them a photo of damage or even a short video of the work being done. Consider sending customers information and quotes via email or even SMS.
- Be Easy To Do Business With
Sure, we’re all busy people, but technology can often fill the gap when we’re lacking. Is it difficult to get ahold of your shop via telephone? How much lead time is there between the day of the phone call and the actual car service appointment? Can your customers call, email or even get help via social media? If not, why not? Find the gaps in communication, and fix them.
- Establish Expertise
Your customers want to trust you to service their vehicles and help them make decisions. They’re not going to come to you if they feel you’re not good at what you do. Make sure all employees are adequately trained and that they are updated on their training every year.
Consider going the extra mile when it comes to educating customers. Can you host a chat and answer questions on social media? What about teaching a seminar or workshop for car owners that covers basic maintenance? Reach out and become an expert in your community.
- Explain Your Prices and Price Fairly
One of the top reasons that customers don’t go to your dealership to get service is their fear of high or unfair pricing, customer surveys reveal. If you’re working towards transparency, then pricing explanations or posted prices go a long way towards appearing fair and trustworthy. If a customer objects to pricing, be patient, and teach your staff to overcome pricing objections and explain the labor and parts that involved. Usually, once the customer understands the nature of the repair, they will see the pricing more objectively and thank you for your honesty.
These are just 5 ways your dealership can increase customer retention. There are more ways you can reach out to customers, such as creating a newsletter or holding community events. Get involved with your customers, be helpful, and become a part of your larger community. You’ll find that these simple ideas can help you create beautiful, long-lasting relationships. (Which will, of course lead to repeat sales.)
One barrier to repeat business is the quality of the buying experience. If you are looking for opportunities to improve your average transaction times (Meet & Greet thru F&I), please feel free to contact us to learn more about our online and in-store credit, finance and deal making solutions. We’d like to be a part of your success.