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7 tips to build customer loyalty

There are countless ways to interact, which can really help you engage with your customers and increase their loyalty to you.

It’s no secret that customer loyalty is key to any business. Acquiring new customers is pricey and time-consuming, so most businesses work to find some sort of loyalty program or process to keep their existing customers coming back, too. The auto industry partakes in this quite often, with both dealerships and automakers striving to maintain repeat customers through exciting incentives, discounts, and other offerings. Repeat customers keep profits up and losses down, so let’s take a look at seven tips for building customer loyalty.  

Maintain a good reputation 

Nobody wants to visit a dealership (or any business) that has poor reviews and isn’t thought highly of, so maintaining a good image of your business is critical to customers being loyal. Giving back to the community is a great way to gain respect, but also consistently being known for great service gives customers a favorable perception of you. It’s a well-established fact that you’re more likely to make a sale with an existing customer than a new one, so make sure to keep a positive reputation so your customers don’t start straying and going somewhere else.  

Make customers happy 

Of course, one of the most basic yet difficult ways to build customer loyalty is by providing clients with a satisfying experience. Most people are willing to pay a higher price for a better experience and better service, so taking every step possible to ensure your customers are well taken care of can ensure they will come back. Providing prompt, stellar service and attractive amenities (including snacks, of course) will increase the likelihood that customers will choose your business the next time they need something.  

Hire a solid team 

Business guru Bill Gates once said, “The inventory, the value of your company, walks out the door every evening.” While many people have the skills to do a job, you should make sure everyone working in your business also has the right attitude. Consumers in general are quite quick to boycott a business after an employee was rude or indifferent to them, regardless of what quality of service or product they received during that visit. Find ways to keep your team motivated by being a supportive leader, encouraging teamwork, and giving recognition and rewards for achievements. Loyal customers know your team, enjoy interacting with everyone, and don’t completely dread having to make a visit, which keeps them coming back. 

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Follow up with unhappy customers 

Let’s face it: No business is perfect. The difference, however, is how businesses respond to criticism and negative feedback. Many people rely on Internet reviews these days, and one bad review could influence potential clients to steer clear of your business. It is imperative to follow up with unhappy clients to make things right and show them you are using their feedback to implement changes that can prevent the same issue in the future. If you see a negative review online, don’t shrug it off as a loss and ignore it. Instead, reach out and see if there is a way the issue can be resolved. Many times, customers will change their reviews and actually gain back trust in your business and start visiting again.  

Show your customer base they are appreciated 

Most of us have given into some sort of “customer appreciation” offer at one time, so we have firsthand experience of how customers want to be thanked and recognized. Acknowledging customers’ birthdays, sending thank you notes, and holding customer appreciation gatherings are just a few ways to let your customer base know you care about them and they aren’t just “numbers.”  

Bundle sales and service 

Having a new, shiny car is always exciting, but car buyers are also going to need to think about future services, which can be a real hassle. To keep them coming back, explore the option of offering a bundle discount or package that includes prepaid, discounted, or free service visits. This may motivate them to return to your business for service after you make the sale. 

Of course, this can also be applied to existing customers. Offering regular discounts on service or a free add-on (e.g. car wash, detailing, etc.) may be an effective way to get customers in the door. Customers are always looking to save money and time, so they’ll stay loyal to you if you continuously find ways to make things less expensive and more convenient.   

Interact outside of the workplace 

Finally, social media is a great place to interact with your customers when you’re not face-to-face, and platforms like Facebook and Twitter make it easy to do so. There are countless ways to interact (e.g. sweepstakes, games, challenges, trivia, etc.), which can really help you engage with your customers and increase their loyalty to you. Many customers only think about a sales/service visit when they need one, but customers may not think twice about where to go if you keep your brand out there and in the front of their minds. 

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Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly Hurley
Kimberly Hurley is a contributing writer and investigative journalist for CBT News, with over a decade of experience specializing in automotive, healthcare, and manufacturing. She enjoys working with industry professionals throughout the world to develop engaging, and accurate content.

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