CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
Today I received an email from Kourtney, my group and suite salesperson for the Dallas Stars, which is an NHL team for those of you who aren’t hockey-inclined. Reading that first sentence, you’re probably thinking I spend a lot of money going to Stars games, but I don’t. I can’t. I live out of state. I spent under $300 with the Stars last season and even less the season before, both times to take friends and family to a game when I was in town for the holidays. As far as group and suite purchases, this probably falls in the bottom five percent of her sales.
The email informed me that she was moving on to another company and someone else from the team would be in touch soon about next season. She provided a number to call with any needs in the meantime and thanked me for my business. While reading her email, I reflected on my limited experiences with Kourtney and compared it to all the other sales experiences I could remember with cars, high-end electronics, furniture, bicycles, and anything else costing more than $100. Some memories were good, some bad, but most were ‘so-so’ transactions typically performed by a friendly salesperson that went for the close, got it, and immediately moved on to the next one without thinking about me ever again.
Not so with Kourtney. When I placed my ticket orders, she took the time to listen to my needs and handled them in a friendly, personable way, in addition to having an infectious smile I could hear through the phone. This alone put her above most of the salespeople I’ve interacted with. Where she truly went above and beyond were the personal touches she added after the sale was closed. I received a handwritten thank you card with my tickets in the mail in November, and another handwritten card at the end of the season thanking me for my business. When was the last time you received a handwritten thank you card from anyone, let alone two for the same transaction? I get thank you cards for giving wedding gifts to friends and family, but I almost never get them from salespeople. I can only remember one other.
Kourtney could have sat back after getting my phone order and let the organization’s marketing department do the work to pull in the next round of leads. She could have relaxed and only included a receipt in the envelope with my tickets. She could have taken it easy and skipped all those written thank you notes at the end of the season that probably gave her hand cramps… but she didn’t cut any corners, and it made a big difference.
I grew up with computers and email, but a personalized, handwritten thank you note still has a very strong impact on me and so does being remembered and appreciated after the sale is made. I recognize that Kourtney has a better opportunity for repeat business from me because the buying cycle for sports tickets is much shorter than that of a car, but that doesn’t make sending written thank you cards any less valuable in making your customers feel appreciated. In fact, it may make them more likely to come to your dealership for service instead of an independent shop or give you a positive recommendation on Google, Yelp or your CSI survey. If you maintain that relationship, the customer is more likely to buy their next car from you instead of someone else.
In my reflection while reading her email, I realized I was losing something special with Kourtney leaving the Stars, so I let her know how impressed I was with the way that she treated me, and that I was a few weeks away from getting a firm head count on another order for next season. Her response? She thanked me for the kind words, emphasized that she treated people the way she would like to be treated in their position, and offered to connect on LinkedIn in case my new rep didn’t take care of me. She still cares about my satisfaction as a customer - even after she leaves the company. I was blown away again, and apparently so were others because her LinkedIn profile is a good collection of recommendations from happy customers. I added one more.
Sending written thank you notes is viewed by some as “old school” in this day of emails, instant messages and texts, but it carries significantly more weight because it’s far more personal. What do you do to make your customers feel special and appreciated after delivery?