In today’s environment, consumers demand more personal attention and expect tangible appreciation for their business. Loyalty programs, great customer experiences and expedient solutions to problems are no longer luxuries, but expectations.
Every loyal customer seems to have a different reason for why they’ve chosen to be loyal. Perhaps one had a memorable moment, while another simply had an employee go above and beyond for them. Well, because loyalty is given on such a personal level, it must also be earned that way. There is no magical formula for earning everyone’s loyalty. Just like everyone in your dealership is motivated in different ways, so are your customers. The trick is finding out what motivates each one.
So, how do you discover the “thing” that shifts someone from being a customer to being a loyal customer? The one thing that’s great about loyal customers is that you can always count on them to weigh in when you ask questions, such as formal surveys, or responses to social media posts. They respond for one simple reason: they care about your business and want it to succeed. Perhaps not every response is positive. That’s OK. The simple fact that they responded is their way of trying to help your business become better for them individually. Think of your loyal customers as a built in focus group. They are the ones you can count on when you really need feedback. Many customers are simply indifferent and are not very likely to respond. But, those that do, and do so with meaningful and thoughtful responses, are the people you should be listening to.
Another way is to make things personal. I heard this great story about a salesperson that, through the suggestion of a sales trainer, started calling 5 unsold prospects daily – people that visited the dealership, spent time with the salesperson, but ultimately left without purchasing. He called and invited them to lunch.
What did this accomplish for the dealership and salesperson? Two things: It instantly made the salesperson memorable in the customer’s mind. And, it made the dealership stand out as one that valued and wanted to earn that customer’s business. When the General Manager of the dealership got wind of this, he informed the salesperson that, should anyone take him up on the offer, the dealership would pay for it. In this salesperson’s whole time at that dealership, calling 5 people every day, only one customer actually accepted the offer and went to lunch with the salesperson.
However, think about it this way -- How many people did the salesman effectively take to lunch? Every one he called! Each of those customers got invited to lunch, it was only because they declined that they didn’t get a free lunch. In the customers’ minds, the salesman effectively took over 1,000 people to lunch. He helped make himself and his dealership stand out. And, in the end, it only cost the dealership $30. I only wish he had kept track of how many of those invitees actually returned and bought a car from him. That would be an interesting statistic.
The point is that this outreach wasn’t an e-mail blast. It wasn’t a “thank you for coming in” phone call. Nor was it a greeting card. It was a genuine human engagement, personalized to a single individual. There is absolutely no reason why this technique couldn’t be applied to existing customers in service or sales. It had very little to do with the fact that he invited them to lunch. And had nothing to do with buying or servicing a car But, more to do with the fact that there was a personal outreach to a customer, with an offer personalized to them.