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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Harvest Your Database to Recapture Lost Souls

Every OEM sets key performance indicators for their dealer franchise owners. Most OEMs look at the same type of metrics, but often have slightly different measurements to determine the success of their dealers. One metric almost every OEM is looking to capitalize on is recapturing lost customers. Harvest your database to find your greatest potential with lost souls and use creative marketing and incentives to drive them back to your dealership.

Segment Your Database
When looking at your database, you have four types of service customers:

  1. Your most loyal customers – they spend a lot and visit a lot.
  2. New vehicle owners – they visit often, but don’t spend a lot.
  3. Big ticket customers – they only visit for major services but go elsewhere for minor services.
  4. Bargain hunters – they shop around for the best deal and go there.

By understanding your customers’ shopping patterns, you can ensure you target the right segment to maximize results and save money by not marketing to lost opportunities.

Determine Lost Soul Time Frame
Since this post is specifically about targeting lost souls, you’ll need to understand what it means for the specific vehicle makes that you service at your dealership. Some manufacturers consider no service in five months a lost soul, but others define it as a year with no service. In today’s market, the lost soul time frame really depends on your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. Once you’ve determined your lost soul time frame, be sure to scrub out all active customers.

Target with Creative Marketing & Incentives
Once you’ve reviewed your customers’ shopping behavior and scrubbed out any customers who do not fit into your lost soul time frame, it is time to put together your marketing and incentives. Remember all the tips and tricks we’ve talked about in previous blog posts. You’ll want to use an eye-catching, multi-channel approach to maximize the effectiveness and reach of your campaign. Make sure you include service offers that are enticing and relevant to grab your customers’ attention and drive them back to your Service Department.

By understanding your customers’ shopping behavior, removing active customers, and leveraging creative marketing and incentives, you can bring lost souls back to your service drive.

David Zwick
Great article. I would like to add a thought we have found to be very successful in recapturing prior customers for both sales and service. Nearly 90% of consumers are looking to avoid visiting dealerships as they perceive it as taking too much time and sometimes being too invasive. We have had success showing dealers how to allow their customers to service without leaving their home/office by offering Pick-up/Delivery of cars for service, often involving a loaner as well as delivering Test Drives. On the service side, CSI increases and customer spend also increases which is a win/win.
Kristen Williams
Thanks David... great points.

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