Customer retention is one of the biggest challenges you and your dealership face, leaving you with one simple question- How do I keep my customers? Acquiring new customers can cost as much as five to seven times more than simply retaining existing ones. To enhance your customer retention, you need to get innovative and proactive. Your first task is to find where your audience is and where it’s going. The answer is mobile. 62 percent of the population has a smartphone, and that number is only increasing. This means, the use of mobile apps are as well. Since 2010, app usage has almost tripled. In just one year, the average minutes spent on an app increased by 35 percent, from 94 minutes to 127 minutes. However, users spent an average of 70 minutes per day on the web over the last year, and that number is decreasing. This shows mobile apps are continuing to rise as the web is starting to wane. With that said, a highly effective way to improve your customer retention is with a useful, dynamic, and well-designed app. 

Your App

An app presents unique features that can provide for you a better way to retain your customers. It provides customers with usable features that will improve their experience with your dealership.  Customers can receive useful updates and push notifications, widely ranging in valuable including promotions, service reminders, and important events. An app also allows customers to schedule appointments, track mileage, and view your inventory making their busy lives easier while filling your pockets. They can use a system like a Virtual Service Manager feature to schedule appointments. With this feature, customers can send an instant message to their service advisor which increases the efficiency of communication from dealer to customer. It eliminates the phone tag issues that plague the proficiency of all service departments. With this direct communication, service advisors can constantly keep their customers updated with messages and pictures of their car’s service so customers know exactly what is being done with their car every step of the way. This not only improves your customers’ lives, but also your dealership’s bottom line. An app can also include geo-fencing technology which is a virtual perimeter for real-world geographic areas. It allows you to set up triggers in locations of your choice (your address, your competitor’s address, etc.) so when your customer enters that set location, the app will send them your customized push notification. Since the Telephone Consumer Protection Act has now prohibited the use of mobile text messages without a written consent from the consumer, an app can safely improve how you reach out to your customers.

However, all these great features are handicapped without a good user interface to accommodate them. Your user interface is a reflection of your brand identity so it should constitute a good use of color coding, activity indicators, positioning of elements, and tool tips. A great user interface lets the customers do what they need to do intuitively without really thinking about it. You don’t want your customers spending too much time trying to figure out how to maneuver your app.  The appearance of the app echoes the appearance of your dealership- the more professional your app looks and feels, the more credibility your dealership gets.

Ring in Your Customers

Let’s say a customer walks into your dealership in search for a used car. Your sales representative greets your customer and uses the inventory function to locate a vehicle that suites the customer’s needs. However, the customer doesn’t buy, for any number of reasons (selection, price, or experience). Before he leaves, your sales representative helps them download your dealership’s app. Your customer then goes down the street to your competitor’s dealership, and thanks to geo-fencing, receives a push notification notifying him of your dealer’s new specials and promotions. After seeing a new car lease, the customer’s interest has awakened again and purchases the car from your dealership. At vehicle delivery, your sales representative shows him how to schedule his first service.

Eight months later, your dealership alerts the customer with a push notification, alerting him that there’s an existing recall for the vehicle. Using a feature like a Virtual Service Manager, he can easily schedule service. The service advisor chats with the customer and even upsells him without violating TCPA laws. Your customer is pleased with how easy and simple the ownership cycle was. You can count on situations like this happening to you once you have an app.

                A great way to launch your app is by getting the word out by simply promoting your app on all your advertising mediums, whether it be billboards, television, or radio. Prospects and customers will have the ability to contact your dealership in the palm of their hands, literally. This increases attraction, which leads to more engagement, which later results in success.

Understanding Your Benefits

In this competitive world, you want to find a way to keep your customers coming back, and a handy app can allow you to make that happen. Mobile apps are where you need to head if you’re thinking about improving your mobile marketing strategies. Studies show that 71 percent of smartphone users who see an advertisement that captures their interest will immediately do a mobile search on it.  Proactively engaging with your customers lead to higher customer satisfaction and better retention. According to Google’s championed digital evangelist Avinash Kaushik, “Owning audiences, instead of just renting them; Earning time instead of just buying it; Creating persistent relationship, instead of just transient ones,” are steps you need to take to get on that path of success. These are the powers you can hold within your dealership. All you need is the right mobile marketing partner. 

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Tags: App, Benefits, Customer, DealerApp, Mobile, Retention, Vantage


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