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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jon Lamb

Jon Lamb President

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Get Your Customers Properly Engaged with Your Dealership

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I know. It's a buzzword. It's impossible to keep track of number of times experts in the car business have used the word "engagement" when describing how to get more customers. Engage on social. Engage on search. Engage on YouTube. Engage on your website. It's a mess but it's still important to be engaged with potential customers.

On the other hand, it's even more important to be engaged with your past and present customers. The people who just bought a car from you, the people in your service waiting lounge, even the people who bought a vehicle from you a couple of years ago - these are the people that could really use some engagement with you immediately.

It gets frustrating to see so many dealers focused on driving new business and conquest business while pretty much taking their eyes off of the low hanging fruit in their database. It's as if the industry has given up on loyalty. It's true that loyalty numbers are lower than ever before. Between the internet allowing further reach for people to shop multiple dealerships and the tendencies of the latest generation to join the car-buying world to shy away from brand loyalty, it has become harder today to garner true loyalty from customers than ever before.

Just because it's harder doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done. Just because they're less loyal today doesn't mean that they're a harder target than fresh customers. The fact that loyalty is harder to come by can be a good thing if you're the dealership in your market that's making it a priority.

As we noted on another post, here are the things that an engaged customer brings to the table. They...

  • Tell more people of their positive experiences with your dealership
  • Refer more customers
  • Buy more vehicles, products and/or services more often
  • Stay in the relationship longer
  • Remain loyal even when faced with unsatisfactory customer service or when quality expectations with a vehicle, product or service aren't met
  • Cost less to market and communicate to, and are more profitable
  • Are your greatest advocates

I put one of those items in particular in bold to focus on a point that I believe has been forgotten in recent years. Staying engaged with past customers has both short- and long-term benefits. It's arguably the only form of marketing that accomplishes both so nicely.

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you have to constantly push for the fresh customers and there's nothing wrong with focusing the majority of your marketing on them. However, you cannot disregard the easy, more affordable customers that have already done business with you. By putting a small measure of attention, effort, and budget towards keeping past customers coming to the showroom and service drive, you'll have an easier time getting the new ones through the doors as well.

It's the piece of the puzzle that we see dealers missing on the most.

Bernard London
Great post John. So often I hear dealer staff saying "customers are not loyal anymore". What I do not hear enough of is "how can we be more loyal to our customers?". I look at my own experiences as my providers (create) their loyalty to me. My repeat business goes to where I buy clothes, where I buy shoes, what doctor and dentist I use and even my insurance needs. Even though, like most people I am bombarded with options and offers. I return because of what they do for me. Their level of service has encouraged me to be their advocate.

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