The Road to ROI with F&I

3 Strategies to Improve Customer Retention

Posted by Vanguard Dealer Services on Jul 29, 2019 10:30:00 AM

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Every dealership's goal is to have customers return again and again for repeat business. Here's the secret... Customer Services.

A company that promotes customer retention can save up to five times the cost of finding new business because most new customers only visit an establishment once. And with costs rising and margins thinning, every Dealership should be looking at ways to optimize performance and promote name loyalty. But getting repeat customers with a car dealership takes careful strategizing and implementation because years can pass between a consumer's car buying experiences. How, then, can you make your Dealership stand out and leave a lasting impression for years to come? Below are 3 strategies to improve customer service, establish best practices, and ensure customer retention.

  1. Increase Customer Retention by Shortening Wait Times

It's no secret that today's consumers lean toward business models that promote instant gratification. Take Amazon and their increasingly speedy shipping, or binge-watching platforms like Netflix that deliver content with a click of the button. Of course, car buying entails a great deal more than other consumer experiences, but that doesn't change the expectation. The importance of customer service for Dealerships cannot be overstated. More specifically, Dealerships need to be aware of how long the process takes when a customer makes a purchase, keeping in mind that repeat customers cost far less than new ones.

With that in mind, there are many ways to increase the quality of customer service while decreasing the long waits in between. How long do customers spend sitting at a desk waiting for paperwork? Experience suggests more than the customer appreciates. But what if the Dealership put that time to use educating the customer on finance policies and F&I products through the use of pamphlets, or millennial-friendly tablets? Providing customers with educational materials that pertain to their purchase will not only save questions that may arise later but will also empower the customer with knowledge and choices.

In short, one way to shorten wait times and improve customer service is by eliminating the wait and fostering promotion and F&I education instead. Focus on empowering and teaching your clients when there is a lull instead of leaving them to twiddle their thumbs or worse post a negative review.

  1. Increase Customer Retention by Presenting a Unified Front

Chaos and discord are a Dealership's nightmare, but all too often the consumer is forgotten as salesman quibble with the finance department or spend time tracking down the service department to get a car cleaned. Not only does workplace malfunction increase the aforementioned wait times, but it also creates a bad customer experience. And customer service should be the name of the game.

To help create repeat customers, Dealerships should focus on streamlining the processes between departments and fostering an environment of unity. This includes opening constructive dialogue, reminding the teams that cooperation creates happy customers, and investing in professional services to pinpoint weaknesses and promote efficiency.

Taking the extra time and money necessary to create a smooth process and ensure customer satisfaction will go a long way in improving customer service and promoting customer retention.

  1. Improve Customer Retention by Covering All the Bases

Employees are people, too, and sometimes they go out of town or call in sick. What's important to remember is that the customer should never feel the brunt of that burden, and frankly, neither should the rest of the staff. The absence of an integral figure, like an F&I specialist or lead manager, can disrupt customer service and make or break a customer's experience if not handled correctly.

The best solution for this is to ensure safety nets and easy-to-follow protocols and resources are in place for when important personnel are absent from the office. Training others in essential tasks before a problem arises can help offset some of the burdens. Hiring fill-in specialists from outside firms can also provide expert help at the times your Dealership needs it the most. Another benefit to bringing in specialists when needed is their ability to see the problems in a work environment with a fresh, insightful perspective and offer solutions that otherwise may have been overlooked.

Preventing customers from feeling the constraints of absent personnel will improve their overall customer service experience, shorten their wait times, and increase their likelihood of coming back in the future.

Customer retention is the bread and butter of every business, but especially in car buying where name loyalty and customer service are key players in how consumers choose to do business. With 56% of millennials preferring to clean house over buying a car, Dealerships can't afford to skimp on improvements. Focusing efforts on shortening wait times, presenting a unified customer experience, and planning for any unforeseen circumstances can put your Dealership ahead of the pack and leave lasting, positive impressions that foster repeat customers.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you retain customers and increase profit margins.

Topics: Customer Service, Dealership Customers, Customer Retention

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