Photo by: Keith Ramsey

Keep Them Coming Back

 

There are many ways to build trust with a potential customer and gain loyalty, especially when working with that customer for the first time.

One such bold suggestion was recently posed by Jim Kristoff on dealerELITE. Kristoff suggests going through the process of appraising a customer’s trade-in through Kelley Blue Book together, so that there is agreement on vehicle condition, the customer doesn’t miss certain model specifics about their vehicle, and the price is set and agreed upon without hassle.

 

“What better way for your management team to build rapport and trust with your customer, than to let the customer be a part of the trade appraisal?”

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Another often overlooked way to build customer loyalty is availability of accessories. The 2011 Automotive Accessory Market Report found that accessory availability was important in selecting a dealer by 23% of all buyers. Consumers can be frustrated if the accessories they want aren’t there, and, as reported by Insignia Group, being able to select accessories can be a large part of instilling ownership in a customer even before financial paperwork is signed.

Insignia Group also suggested offering a complimentary maintenance schedule with the purchase of a vehicle, as customers who regular use the Parts and Service departments at their dealership are more likely to purchase their next vehicle from the same location.

Since service retention is so important for overall customer loyalty, adding any ease of use for a customer’s service needs can be helpful, like mobile SMS text messages to remind them of their upcoming oil change. Mobile messaging can also provide specials, news, and even just simple reminders of why the customer is appreciated by the dealership, and in the mode of communication many consumers prefer.

Finally, a great way to build and maintain customer loyalty is to provide a Customer Loyalty Program. You can offers customers something they want, such as a free oil change after the first three, or a way to earn points toward so much off their next vehicle purchase, which offers incentive to keep the customer going back to the dealership and build on the program.

Read more about Customer Loyalty Program success here.

Social Sharing Best Practices

Brian Sheehan, Associate Professor of Advertising at Syracuse University, and consultant and manager of Saatchi & Saatchi’s Toyota Worldwide Executive Board (TWEB), visited Outsell with some ‘social sharing’ best practices.

Watch the video below, or for more Outsell videos, check out the Outsell YouTube Channel.

June 13, 2011

Vendor Saturation

Members of KainAutomotive on Vendor Best Practices

In March, Outsell Marketing Associate, Amanda Meuwissen, began a discussion on KainAutomotive about “Vendor Saturation”. The responses were opinionated and sometimes heated, bringing up some important points in looking at what dealers really want from their vendors.

The original prompt for the discussion was as follows:

The automotive industry is not short on vendors for dealership needs, everything from website creation and support to mobile marketing campaigns are readily offered. Most vendors focus on one area, maybe a couple, and offer those services only, meaning a dealership has to go to several different places to get everything they want.

Would you prefer a single vendor for your dealership that offers everything (chat, email marketing, video, website, mobile, great reporting and analytics, etc.) or do you prefer utilizing multiple vendors to get the best out of each individual service?

If you are using multiple vendors, even if one company might offer, for example, website building and online chat, but you only use them for the website and have a different company run your chat program, what is it about a particular service that makes it better than another and worth paying an additional vender for even if the first vendor offers multiple products?

At first the responses that came in seemed fairly clean-cut. Jason Manning, Desk Manager for O’Donnell Chevrolet Buick, pointed out that more vendors mean more competition, which leads to better pricing and better products. His opinion was that companies with specializations in a single product would normally do a better job because they could focus all of their attention and innovation on that single product.

Steve Stauning, Founder of pladoogle, LLC, added to the point, “The do-it-all companies I’ve seen in automotive are a lot like the first Fax-Printer-Scanner-Copiers that came out on the market ten years ago: They could not do any of these things well!”

Those first responders to the discussion seemed to agree that larger companies trying to do it all had trouble offering any one good thing, and should focus on improving the products they already offer rather than adding anything new.

Later additions to the discussion disagreed.

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Cultivating a User-Centered Culture

Outsell’s Design & Integration Lead, Craig Vore, Campaign Operations Batch Manager, Katherine Lyman, and Campaign Operations Supervisor, Samantha McIntosh, attended a Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) sponsored event in January called “Cultivating a User-Centered Culture.” The event featured Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker of Geek Girls Guide and Clockwork Active Media Systems, aimed at both improving interactions with clients and employees.

Lyons and Wilker come from a company that has been named a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace.” Much of that comes from the practices they shared in their presentation, how everyone is a ‘user’ in some way of some aspect of every company, and that needs to be taken into consideration at all times.

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Leading the Conversation

Social Media and Online Marketing can mean something entirely different to different marketers as well as different industries, but for most the goal is the same, to drive more traffic to the company’s main website and potentially gain more customers and closer relationships with current customers.

The largest areas this is done regularly and successfully is through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, but what are the best ways to use those tools?

The key elements that come up again and again from professionals using social media is to have a plan, make sure the different aspects you are using are integrated, and listen to your customers.

Blogging as a company is different than running a personal blog. It can’t be about the hit count or the amount of comments on posts, if any, but about the content you are putting out there being relevant and important to the consumers who find their way to your site. What to write for a blog post is as important as who you are trying to reach. Customers aren’t interested in only hearing about how wonderful your dealership is, what specials are going on, or that great testimonial or customer experience.

Those things are great spaced out with other content, but people are fickle. They want variety. Too much of the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter, are filled with more of the same. Stay current on automotive news, trends, and interesting facts as well.

And please, don’t take the route so many other budding social media savvy dealerships have taken and fill your tweets with superfluous ‘What’s your favorite color?’ and ‘Tell us what you did this weekend?’ questions. That tactic isn’t original or relevant.

Do make your posts and comments fun, however. Social Media is supposed to be fun, that’s why people spend so much time there. Tracy Gold in her article, “What I Learned About Social Media from Angry Birds,” said it best:

“Sure, people read articles to learn what’s going on in their field, and they watch how-to videos. But no one is going to remember your brands’ boring breakdown of how to install WordPress. They’re going to remember the posts that made them laugh, and the tweets they think are clever. So if you’re just churning out the same-old, same-old content, stop it! Think about how you can make sure that you’re keeping social media the way it’s supposed to be: fun.”

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