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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
Hey - It’s time to join the thousands of other dealer professionals on DrivingSales. Create an account so you can get full access to the articles, discussions and people that are shaping the future of the automotive industry.
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DMEautomotive

DMEautomotive

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Customer Loyalty: It’s What Drives Dealer Relationships

“Welcome to the dealership! How may we help you today?”

 

You may not think it, but a simple greeting when you first walk into a dealership can lay the groundwork for keeping a customer for life.   In today’s competitive environment, the lengths a car dealership goes with their customer service can help determine how they can keep their customers.

What can an automotive dealership do to establish a long-lasting relationship with their customers?  Here are a few simple reminders to help nurture customer loyalty.

Promises are more than just words. When trying to close a sale, making promises comes with the territory.  Sometimes these can go beyond the basics of quality automotive service and fuel price guarantees.  Keeping core promises simple and developing them as time goes on helps establish long-term customer loyalty.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This scenario may seem rather basic: a customer comes into your dealership, test-drives a vehicle and after mulling the numbers, they decide to purchase it.  As a rule of thumb, whether it’s after a vehicle test-drive or post dealer delivery, a salesperson should take the time to write a handwritten note of “thanks” and send them out promptly.   This simple consideration provides a personal touch and shows the customer you’re more than a number.

Be accessible. Whenever an issue crops up—a dead battery, a blown tire or even an engine service issue—being available and willing to help customers is key.  Providing service to your customers at their convenience rather than your own shows customer loyalty.  Why? You’re available to them when they need you.

Dissatisfied customers require attention, too. Let’s face it: customers aren’t happy all the time.  Whether it’s a complaint on your dealership’s Facebook page or a complaint via phone regarding service they received, a dissatisfied customer complaint requires a swift response.  Handling the issue by going the extra mile can help service the relationship for both parties – the customer’s issue is handled to their satisfaction and the car dealership can help foster a lucrative relationship. In the best case scenario, they may take notice of your extra effort, and become an advocate rather than an enemy.

“Thank you for stopping in…we look forward to seeing you soon!”

~ Missy Jensen, Social Media Manager at DMEautomotive

Bio:
Missy designs, deploys and maintains the social media initiatives for DMEautomotive in an effort to increase brand awareness, distribute company and industry news, provide updates on products and services and promote consumer engagement. Missy enjoys the process of learning; researching and watching projects come to fruition!

Prior to her transformation into a web specialist and work with DMEautomotive, she has 10 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry. Missy served as the Director, Handicapping & Communications for a regional golf association and helped successfully launch and maintain a cutting edge technology-based ticket resale program on behalf of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Missy attended St. Lawrence University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She can be reached at missy.jensen@dmeautomotive.com and check her out on LinkedIn.

Steve Richards
As I understand it; the single most important factor when determining if a customer will buy another vehicle from a car dealer, it is the length of the finance contract that is the most important factor.(short term = repeat, long term = never see them again) The reality is most consumers could care less about building a "relationship" with a car dealer; only 50% of the people who get married can't even build a relationship with their spouse. As regards their realtionship with a car dealer they want the least painful purchase experience available, they want their vehicle fixed right, the first time, and they want a competitive price. The chance of the sales person who sold them a car being there for them 6 months down the road (forget 3 or 4 years down the road) is negligible.
Stacy Mueller
Steve, I apologize for my tardy response. Though I agree, length of finance contract plays a factor in customer "loyalty"...how the customer is treated during that process is a key factor. Do they feel like the dealer kept true to what was discussed before you stepped into contract phase? There aren't any hidden traps, etc. Simply saying thank you numerous times and treating people with overall respect goes a long way. Personally, I buy a car from a particular dealer because of a relationship...I know that I can walk in there, he'll make sure all my sales/service needs are met and he's appreciative. Simple as that.

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