If you happen to be someone who grew up in the days when grocery stores gave S&H Green Stamps, Plaid Stamps or Top Value Stamps with every purchase, you may remember how much value that represented to the lady of the house who did all the grocery shopping. It was a big deal and nearly everyone had books of these stamps they were saving, which could be traded for household products at the local trading stamp store or through their catalog. These were designed to create customer loyalty and some shoppers would choose one merchant over another because they gave out more stamps per dollar spent.
Though the days of trading stamps are gone, we need to take a page out of today’s grocery store playbook. MVP cards, Reward programs, Discount or Loyalty programs are operating in over 55 grocery store chains across America. For Consumers, the goal is savings at the register in your service drive.
Make ‘em Feel Like an Intelligent Shopper
It works for me every time I go to my favorite grocery store. The cashier says after the transaction as she hands me the receipt: “Today Ms. Nixon you saved a total of $13.26.”
I feel like an intelligent shopper. This process used by the grocery store works because, in spite of the fact that I just spent money, the transaction process ends on a high note.
It’s addicting. I shop there, and I look for that reinforcement as a reward for my decision to shop at their store.
Dealers, if you offer competitive pricing on maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, alignments and various other items, these discounts might be $10 less than MSRP. You might also be giving the customer a discount on a job, or some larger discount off MSRP prices on parts like a transmission or engine. If you do, then I suggest you verbalize this and let people know about it.
We all know that value and benefits sell products, but telling the customer of the value we are giving them is smart business. Go to any department store or outlet clothing store and look at the price tags on the clothing. A tag might say ‘Compare at $60’ even though they are selling it for $20. It is all about how it makes the customer feel.
If telling the customer how much they saved works at the grocery or department stores, why don’t we try this in our service or parts departments to let the customer know they made a good decision coming to our dealership?
It doesn’t matter whether you have a service cashier or your service advisors are the cashiers. When collecting the customers money, say to them at the end of the transaction: “Mr. Smith, you saved $120.00 this visit on your vehicle maintenance.”
If the Customer paid over the phone or online, then this conversation happens during the active delivery in the final confirmation call to the customer.
Let the Customer Know
No one likes to spend money on vehicle maintenance or repairs, but everyone likes to save money whenever they can. Letting customers know how much they saved by coming to your dealership is a reminder to them that you value their business. And as my cashier at the grocery store reminds every time I go through the checkout line that I’m pretty smart for going where I can save money and it also reinforces the value of being loyal to your service operation.
And here is another suggestion: if your service operation provides free oil changes, loaner vehicles, rental cars, car washes or any other amenity that holds value, make sure you place that into the equation. If the customer did not have to pay anything for those valuable services, which you provided for free, that truly is a savings on their part.
Research tells us that consumers believe the Dealer is always the more expensive option. We need to advertise, educate and help the Customer discover all the ways that trusting their vehicle to our service department rewards them. Let them hear about the value they receive every time.
Do your homework and find out where you are offering more than the competition and market that difference to your customers. Find unique ways to promote the value and benefit of coming to your service department and don’t be afraid to tell your customers about it whenever they make the choice to do their business with you.
By letting your customers know– every time– the value they receive from coming to your dealership, you remind them of just why they come there to have their service and maintenance performed. Find ways to do this whenever you can and your customers will appreciate it by bringing you their business and telling others about how much they save by making their decision to be loyal to your dealership.