Consumers have more choice today than they ever had when buying cars. With higher consumer expectations, dealerships have to work harder to increase sales and service appointments. People today are impatient – they want everything immediately, with the best service and the cheapest price.
Whilst we work so hard every day to covert leads and earn new customers, it is interesting to consider the cost of earning a new customer compared to the value and cost of customer retention. Some sources say it can cost between four to ten times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.
With this statistic in mind, we need to consider the processes in place to help facilitate customer retention. We all know it’s easy to sell a car once, however it is a lot harder to get the customer back for each scheduled service, then selling the customer that second or third vehicle. To help achieve the desired retention rates today, dealerships need to have a detailed and proactive CRM strategy in place.
For many dealerships I see around the country, CRM is often defined as a lead management tool within the Showroom department. However, a truly integrated CRM does so much more. It is all about customer lifecycle management and how you engage with your customers over time. Some of the top performing dealers around the country I have seen are sending on average over 2,000 targeted messages via multiple communication channels out to their customers every month from their automated CRM software. This all happens with no human intervention once the CRM business rules are set up. Whether it be service reminders, sales campaigns, Warrant of Fitness (WOF) reminders, or thank you letters; gone are the days when you would just send email blasts to your whole database with generic messages. Dealers today who are leading the way with their CRM strategy are profiling customers and targeting specific messages at relevant times during the lifecycle of the vehicles their customers own.
The real question to consider is, what’s holding you back from achieving the same results in your dealership?
Knowing your customers beyond their vehicle is the first critical step to creating an effective retention strategy. Your sales and marketing team should understand the importance of relationship building in both social and professional environments. The more you know about your customer, the more you can do to keep them. If you think about it, the customers that have been with you the longest are the ones that have interacted with you the most in a positive manner. It is important that this valuable information is not just in the heads of your staff that might come and go, but the data should be entered into your CRM.
The second step is to evaluate your existing CRM software and strategies. When was the last time you reviewed your CRM processes and options for the dealership? There are numerous options available at different price points depending on the size of your dealership.
If you are proactive with your CRM strategy, you will have the ability to analyse, communicate and engage with the customers who are most likely to become loyal, long-term sources of revenue.
Learn more about our DealerSocket CRM solution here.