Dealers' #1 source for auto industry news, content, coaching & analysis

Mastering customer retention: How to personalize connections at your dealership

Your sales team is knocking it out of the park! Customers are coming in, and the sales team is meeting them where they are and offering excellent customer service. Their work is causing customers to respond and make a purchase. This is what it’s all about, right? Well, the initial sale is just the beginning of your relationship with each customer.

You enter the customer retention stage once a customer purchases a car or arrives for a service appointment. You’ve likely heard of the usual suspects regarding customer retention: loyalty programs, mass email mailings, and incentives. Yet, there are some lesser-known ways to win with your customers and make things more personal to help them stick around.

Realize That The Initial Sale is Only the Beginning

When the customer drives off your dealership lot, that signifies the start of the next phase of your relationship with a customer: mastering retention. Realizing that a purchasing decision is the start of a new stage can help you and your sales team start planning out the retention process. These strategies can help you keep customers engaged and meet their needs.

Ultimately, focusing on customer retention can provide exceptional results: According to Invesp, the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60% and 70%. In comparison, the probability dramatically drops to a range of 5% to 20% for new customers.

Make a Personal Connection That Resonates 

Famous author and activist Maya Angelou once said: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Your mission in this retention stage is to explore ways to enhance the personal touch and make people feel an attachment to your dealership brand. 

This could look like sending them a handwritten note thanking them for their business and mentioning something they said during the sale. Another gesture could be personally replying to a survey they filled out, acknowledging their feedback, and discussing how you’ll use it. Work with your team to figure out ways to focus on increasing the human touch.

Discover Customer Communication Needs and Use Personalized Communication Tools to Meet Them

Every customer has a different communication style. Some may like text message alerts, while others may only want to be emailed once a month about discounts. Your goal is to figure out how to engage with each individual. One of the best ways to do this is by conducting surveys and even asking customers about their communication preferences when they’re in the showroom.

Technology can then help you carry out that personal touch. A tool like Moosend allows you to send personalized promotional messages, while MailChimp can enable you to create dynamic emails for specific customer segments. Blending the personal touch with the tech can help you address their communication needs and keep them connected.

Set up an Ongoing Follow-up Communication Strategy

Decide when you’re going to follow up with existing customers. For example, a component of this strategy could be using survey data to segment your customers into how often they want to be reached out to in addition to their preferred marketing channels and any demographic data.

From there, you can add special occasions for reaching out, like birthdays and purchasing anniversaries. The goal is to pair major customer milestones with sound communication strategies to address each customer after they’ve driven off your lot.

Offer Incentives to Compel Them to Buy Again

Rewards and loyalty programs are likely a part of customer retention you’ve heard much about. However, it’s still crucial to talk about because it can have a major impact on encouraging customer loyalty. Things like offering discounts and loyalty programs can show customers you appreciate them and keep them coming back for more.

Customer experience and marketing company, Yotpo found that 83% of global respondents to their 2022 State of Brand Loyalty survey said belonging to a loyalty program influences their decision to buy again from a brand. Your service department could offer a rewards program, and you could even partner with surrounding brands, where your customers could get discounts at their favorite restaurants or stores when buying from your dealership.

Final Takeaways

Landing the sale is only one of many steps involved in customer relationship building. You want the purchase to catalyze more conversions and customer interactions. You can do this by ensuring you’re getting customer preferences for ongoing communications and working them into a customer follow-up plan for various demographic and customer preference segments. Before you know it, you have a reliable communication pipeline that encourages customers to return even after the initial purchase.

Stay up to date on exclusive content from CBT News by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive all the latest news, insight and trends impacting the automotive industry.

CBT News is part of the JBF Business Media family.

Chanell Turner
Chanell Turner
Chanell Turner is a contributing writer and investigative journalist for CBT News.

Related Articles

Manufacturers In This Article

More Manufacturer News

Latest Articles

From our Publishing Partners