The Road to ROI with F&I

Actions, Not Words, Are the Key to Customer Retention

Posted by Vanguard Dealer Services on Sep 16, 2019 9:30:00 AM


Every dealership's goal is to have customers return again and again for repeat business. Here's the secret…actions, not words, show customers you appreciate their business.

Customer Service, Get Personal

Get to know your customers, not just on paper, but in person. If you let them know you value their business you can be sure it won't be dealer indifference that causes them to leave.

Create special retention programs that provide face-to-face opportunities. Call them clinics, but use them as meet & greets, an opportunity for management to mingle with customers giving them a personal connection to the Dealership. Be sure to display a greeting that says 'thank you to our customers'.

Brainstorm to decide what best fits your clientele. Some program ideas:

  • Clinics on products every vehicle should have on board for emergencies; tips and products specific to winter driving (or summer, or hurricane season); safety suggestions for prepping vehicles for winter (or summer, or hurricane season). Make it a presentation by the Parts Department team, introduced by Dealership management.
  • Clinics on available F&I products that can provide additional vehicle protection. Dealership management should introduce themselves and mingle and talk with customers. Have your F&I expert give a talk about aspects of vehicle safety that relate to F&I products.
  • Clinics on products the Parts Department offers that enhance vehicle and passenger safety. Dealership management should be present to mingle and talk with customers. Then have the Parts Department team start the presentation and take questions.
  • A Kids' Day, with child related activities, that also serves to show off new vehicle models and products. Introduce the Sales Team and let them review what's on display.

Reliability & Availability, Be There When They Need Help

Management has the leadership role in setting standards and procedures when it comes to customer problems.

Make certain customers have an easy time contacting the dealership. Set up systems for 24/7 availability. Put follow-up procedures in place to ensure that the right department responds quickly to service emergencies, questions about vehicle problems, or conflicts.

If the service department is involved initially, at an appropriate time in the process the customer should also receive a follow-up phone call from the salesman involved in the vehicle purchase. Every opportunity for personal contact should be seized. After resolution, a phone call from management, not an email, would confirm the Dealership considers the customer's business important.

Conflict resolutions should be carefully monitored by dealership management and resolved with their help as necessary. A mishandled conflict resolution can be a direct cause for losing a customer.

Communication, Stay In Touch

No matter what means of communication your dealership considers primary, it should be regularly scheduled. Management has the leadership role here as well. It should expect departments to work together to formulate a communication program with a focus on keeping the customer informed.

Customer Service could coordinate and compile content from all departments into a single monthly mailing, or newsletter, either of which could be posted on a website or social media platform. The content can relay information on upcoming clinics, new vehicles, new parts or F&I products, and even holiday wishes. It should always say 'thank you for your business'.

The customer's sales person should keep in regular contact with phone calls or emails, depending on customer preference. These could be an opportunity to check on vehicle status or to send birthday greetings, but there doesn't need to be a reason. The context simply needs to be personal, a quick 'hello' or 'let me know if you need anything'.

The Service Department has a mission to help customers keep to maintenance schedules and this provides an excellent opportunity for them to send along a personal message. Here, as with sales correspondence, the personal message can be brief, maybe 'looking forward to seeing you again', and signed by a team member.

The Secret: Actions, Not Words, Are the Key to Customer Retention

If you want customers to return again and again for repeat business don't give them an excuse to leave. Let them know you appreciate their business by your actions, not words. Proactively do something for them, meet them face to face, develop a relationship, be there when they need you. Let them know you appreciate their business by your actions, not words.

Dealership managements have the responsibility to set the standards and lead by example. Get involved with your customers and show them you want to keep their business.


Contact us today for information on Vanguard dealership training and F&I products and services. 

Topics: Customer Service, Customer Retention, customer experience

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