Do you have reviews listed on your social media or website? If you’re doing things right, chances are, you have at least a few customers who love what your dealership is doing, love the vehicle they purchased, the service they received, or the interactions they’ve had with your staff. In part 6 of our Blog Series on Branding Strategy, we want to discuss the importance of cultivating loyalty to your brand. We’ve already discussed the importance of developing a branding identity that is central to your purpose and consistency. Research has shown that customer loyalty behaviors are linked to three things:
The dealership’s sense of purpose, which is driven by the company’s expressed overall values and mission
A general sense of trust, developed by consistently producing high quality vehicles, service, and a customer experience
A sense of belonging, which can be accomplished through evoking emotion, and developing a incentives such as a loyalty program
You must go above and beyond the focus of vehicle sales and consider the overall customer experience (i.e. service and sales). The average dealership invests about 3% of their marketing budget focused on service-only customers (National Automobile Dealers Association). How have you focused on these particular customers? Why should a customer return to your dealership for service over an independent shop? Creating a relationship with your customers by reflecting the specific value of using your dealership for service is a good start. Anticipate your service customers’ most important needs, offer a quality service menu, and make it easy. This helps you establish a long-term positive relationship with a higher chance of a repeat customer sale, and positive reviews on your behalf to everyone they know. Win win win.
In addition to using your resources to market to your customers the fantastic value of returning to your dealership for servicing, consider your current loyal customer base. Read each online review, and respond to each one in a favorable manner. Offer a loyalty program. Send them some swag. Run promotions that are fun, fresh, and engaging to your local customers. In part four of this series, we discussed a client of ours whose philanthropic presence in their community is fierce! Consider how you can get involved in your community in such a way that lets your loyal customers know that they are a part of your family, and that you’ll take care of them. In the end, cultivating this loyalty will pay dividends in their proclivity toward being your brand ambassadors, and ultimately result in better profits for your dealership.