|Customer Loyalty: (continued)
|Today’s car buyers happen to be more informed than ever and they
have the luxury of having far many more choices, both in dealerships and
brands, than the car buyer of yesterday. To think that it wasn’t all that
long ago when car buyers had their choice of either a Chrysler, Ford or
GM product. Next was the introduction of Japanese vehicles from Toyota,
Honda, Nissan and the European brands. Hyundai and Kia have quickly
made their presence felt to the point where even the Japanese auto
makers are looking in their rear view mirrors much like the way the Big
Three did when Toyotas and Hondas started to hit American roads. It won’
t be long until India and China join the mix. Some may snicker and joke at
the thought of a car labeled “Made In China”, however, somebody is going
to buy them.
Loyalty Rewards Programs Have Proven to Create REAL Customer Loyalty!
Loyalty reward programs were first used in the airline and hotel industry to
help create a long-term relationship with each customer. Recently it seems
as if every major retailer, grocer, credit card and coffee shop is offering
some sort of reward card. These businesses did so because their respective
industries have gotten a little competitive. We’ve already covered the fact that
there is not an industry more competitive that ours. These other industries
have implemented programs that in essence reward customers for doing
business with them and it is without a doubt that they work! Stop and think about your own consumer habits.
Do you use your American Express card almost exclusively so that you can cash in your points for vacations?
Do you fly a particular airline over others because of frequent flyer points and the perks you are offered? How
about the rewards programs from big box retailers like Best Buy or even neighborhood shops like Subway and
Starbucks? The programs do a great job of locking in customers to spend more with their business
instead of going elsewhere.
|SUPERIOR DEALER SOLUTIONSsm
Copyright © 2008 Automotive Dealers Network. All rights reserved.
The Time for Reward Programs in Auto Dealerships is NOW!
Reward programs can be set up so that your customers will earn points with every dollar spent in your
dealership’s departments. Reward cards are issued in both sales and service that allow customers to earn
points based on customer pay in service. The goal is to drive more customers to the dealership’s service
department. There is still a huge misconception with consumers that the dealership charges more for service
than the 10-minute oil change service center. Since this is no longer the case, we need to let the customer
know this and a rewards card program is the perfect way to keep customers in your service
Some programs allow the customers to redeem the points toward service. This approach is strongly
discouraged as it has the long term potential to cannibalize into fixed ops revenue. Instead, use a reward
Program that is customized to offer immediate benefits in the form of exclusive discounts or perks for being a
loyal customer while earning points toward the next vehicle purchase. The service discounts and perks for
being a card holder are the short term rewards while the points earned toward a new vehicle is the long term
reward. The points compel your customers to see you first when it’s time to buy another vehicle rather than go
In a relatively short time, we’ve seen the pie go from “The Big Three” to
being divided into smaller and smaller slices of market share. In today’s
ultra-competitive retail automotive world just doing your job isn’t enough
to keep your customers your customers.
Creating customer loyalty and retaining as much of your existing
customer base as possible is now more crucial than ever.
|There are several highly effective reward card providers that design
programs exclusively for the auto industry. All have a similar goal in
creating customer loyalty, however, most vary in some degree in their
approach or philosophy. You need to determine which program best
fits your dealership.
Some reward programs are designed to be just as much a powerful cutting edge e-mail marketing
tool as it they are a customized reward card program. They have been proven to effectively harvest up to
80% of the customers’ e-mail addresses. Once the e-mail addresses have been captured, they also provide
the necessary tools to revolutionize advertising, follow up and customer communication. They allow you the
ability to reach individual customers, your entire customer base and target your message by make, model,
year, lease, loan, cash deals, new or used, by mileage, days since the last service visit, even by sales person.
A few programs provide the ability to send e-mail messages or e-mails that contain customized CSI/SSI
surveys. E-mail surveys are great “buffers” to the actual manufacturer’s survey and allow the
opportunity to address any complaints or issues before the customer receives a CSI survey.
Dealers can also upload graphics and send them out as the body of the e-mail message. Some rewards e-mail
programs also provide the option to send template-driven vouchers in the body of the e-mail. Best of all are
the cutting-edge video e-mail features that give the dealership the ability to shoot a video right in the dealership
or upload television commercials and send them out via e-mail. Many dealerships use the e-mail feature to
notify customers of recalls, service reminders, new product introductions, announce incentive programs or
special events at the dealership, send a holiday greeting, etc. The sky is the limit on how this technology can
be utilized but the best part is that it is instant, easy and many times, free! Customers that don’t have e-
mail can receive any audio message just as instantly and easily as e-mail can be sent.
The good news is that these programs were designed to be an self funding solution. They create a
revenue stream that not only covers the cost of the program but also the discounting you offer in both sales
and service. For example, should a customer earn $500 towards their next vehicle purchase you’ll never have
to deal with anything less than a full gross deal. Some of the Reward Programs offer no-risk guarantees and
month-to-month agreements. The only thing you have to lose by not trying to create customer loyalty with
Loyalty Reward Programs is your customers!
Vince Rubino is VP of Marketing for RewardLogix, which was
developed to fit the ever demanding complexities of
dealership needs. The dealer decides the rewards, the
points and how they are redeemed and RewardLogix builds
the program. With ADP and Reynolds & Reynolds DMS
integration, this provides effortless card activation and point
tracking allowing your dealership to focus on what matters
most... selling cars and satisfying service customers. Visit
http://www.rewardlogix.com/about.html for more info.