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Richard Holland

Richard Holland Managing Director

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Random Acts of Generosity Can Build Loyalty

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Finding a lost earring in the jewelry box, discovering the old autographed Tom Seaver baseball card when you clean out the attic, and learning that the shirt you are about to pay retail for is discounted, are all pleasant surprises.  How about walking into your bank and having the ATM talk with you and then give you a gift for being a customer?  Could that surprise highlight your day?  Such was the case during a special July day at four TD Canada Trust branches, according to this article.  Many customers received a $20 bill, but for some customers, the trip to the bank was much more rewarding. One lucky customer landed an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. And another got to take a trip out of the country to visit a sick family member.

You shouldn’t need to go far to hear a “thank you” when you visit the bank, the grocery store or your favorite neighborhood restaurant.  But when was the last time you were thanked in an unexpected way?  

Your dealership has a whole database filled with sales and service customers.  You may even have records of these same customers having referred family members or friends to your dealership.  Without “buying” your customer’s loyalty and giving away all your profits, how about simply using the information you already know about your customers to thank or surprise them?

If your sales or service professionals have taken notes about your customers and input them in your CRM, you can use this valuable information to surprise your customer.  Your staff may already send birthday cards to their customers. Have they ever taken it a step further and sent a bouquet of flowers or a pair of movie tickets to the customer?  

Consider these situations: Your service advisor learned that “Jane Doe” is getting her car checked out before taking a road trip to see her daughter Mary, who just had a baby. Mary may not have ever done any business with you yet your dealership decides to send a gift card from Babies ‘R Us to Mary because Jane has been your long-time customer.  Who wouldn’t be surprised at that?

Tony, one of your veteran sales professionals has written a thank you card and tucked it in the armrest in the new sedan he sold.  Later that day, when the customer is exploring their vehicle, they discover the card and the gift certificate to a nearby restaurant that Tony purchased for them.  A simple, inexpensive gesture such as this could reap long-time loyalty.

Like a lot of big businesses, the automobile industry doesn’t shy away from holding regular events, including barbeques in the parking lot, ticket giveaways to sporting events and, of course, special discounts for service and sales.   What if you chose a random day for a “customer appreciation day” and didn’t tell anyone? Who can you surprise today?

It doesn’t have to be about giving gifts to show your appreciation to a customer.  A random call from a manager or the dealership owner may be worth more than any monetary gift or surprise.  Surprises such as these cost nothing more than a few minutes of time but they could yield your dealership years of customer loyalty.

You don’t have to install an automated thanking machine in your dealership. But kind words from your employees, a handshake from the general manager, or an unexpected gift placed in the customer’s vehicle, can go a long way in the hearts and minds of your customers. 

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