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Ken Kolodziej

Ken Kolodziej CEO and Co-Founder

Exclusive Blog Posts

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Orphaned Owners…Don’t Let Them Find a New Home!

Orphan Customers

How many orphaned owners does your dealership have? If you know, then it is a problem and if you don’t know, that is a problem as well.  First, let’s take care of the definition of an “Orphan”: A dealership customer that no longer has a sales associate assigned to him/her and that no one at the dealership is in contact with anymore.

There are dealerships where more than 40% of their customer base has been orphaned. In this day and age, with the overabundance of data available to dealerships, why would a customer ever become “orphaned”?  The hundreds of thousands of dollars dealerships spend each year, and track on a daily basis, including the cost of new customer acquisition through advertising, is staggering. Yet once they have the customer, they let him/her walk out the door, never to return? Why isn’t anyone using their data to hold on to their customers and putting a stop to the orphan process? Better yet, why isn’t anyone using their access to data to get their orphans back?

Utilize your orphaned owners. They already know about your dealerships, they bought from you once, and know how you do business, so access them!  Getting back in touch with your orphans is simple and the cost of reacquisition is small compared to the cost of acquiring a new customer!

How to make the most of your orphans

Here is a simple Action Plan:

  1. Every dealership can track their orphans through their DMS/CRM:  Run the report for the past three years.
  2. Schedule this task in your Outlook calendar every month
  3. Now that you have your orphans identified, schedule four email campaigns:
    • Solicitation for Service with service incentives
    • We Need your Trade-In
    • Monthly Service Specials
    • Where have you been, we miss you…provide service or detail coupons
  1. Make sure your email campaigns are embedded with your Google Analytics code so you can track response. Did the orphan click on the link in the email? What did they do when they came to your site? Track the response through Google Analytics to see what campaigns are working or not working for your dealership. 
  2. Break your orphans up by zip code and use demographic data (such as that available in String's Dealer Positioning System) to search and see what advertising medium those customers respond to and how to frame your messaging to bring that orphan back in your door.

 

Shawn Ryder
Great article! String is great for the Dealer demographics! What if for the email sends, could track who opens, click and then connect that user to the site traffic? We have a product called Sonar that does that - certainly helps with knowing who is getting the message and in turn interacting with the site.
Allen Levenson
One further thought on top of Ken's great ideas for retaining orphans. Reach out to these customers who have proper equity in their vehicle and make them a specific offer based on trading their vehicle back at the dealership. The key is to build a strong, personal relationship with all your customers, and particularly with orphans given their key contact is no longer with your dealership. If you can truly personalize the offer (mention the customer's current vehicle, their payment, what their trade is worth, etc.) based on the information that you have that no other dealership has, they will want to come back to your dealership, despite their orphan status.
Big Tom LaPointe
Beyond email, assign these valuable customers to sales or BDC agents who will actually BUILD A RELATIONSHIP - just email may end up being perceived as junk. There are many ways to call a customer without violating do not call - personal introduction, invite to new vehicle party, free car wash.

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