It’s happening every day. Odds are it’s happening as you read this post but you’re doing nothing about it. I’m talking about the gold mine you’re allowing to walk out your front door. Do you know what it is? If you’re thinking unsold customers you’d be wrong, while there is gold there as well it’s nothing compared to the gold mine that’s just waiting for you to tap into it, do you know what it is yet? I’m talking about your sold customers.
Most dealerships, most business really, don’t put enough emphasis on customer retention. They would rather start all over again, from the beginning, and spend another $300-$500 dollars to attract another buyer when they could be spending far less on repeat customers and referrals. To be fair I don’t think that they WANT to be spending more money I think that most dealerships just don’t know how to go about it.
The old way of doing it with phone calls, snail mail, and coupons still works but with the onset of Social Media things just got a whole lot easier to implement. Don’t be afraid of using new technology because everybody is already using it, your customers are and your competition does.
The big secret with customer retention is it’s all about building positive relationships with your customers so that they feel comfortable enough to keep coming back and sending people your way. Today’s savvy customer expect good customer service, a fair price and to be treated as an equal, if you’re doing that then you might as well be doing nothing at all because doing ONLY what’s expected of you won’t set you apart from the crowd.
Using Social Media To Build You Existing Customer Relationships
The people that just bought from you are your best customers. It’s a relationship that should be leveraged and one that deserves to have time invested in it. With social media you can easily build onto your existing customer-client relationship with bulk actions. What I mean by that is that you don’t have to spend a ton of time with individual customers you can create strong relationships by interacting with everybody in your “follow-up network” at the same time.
For the example I will be outlining in this post I will be using Facebook as the social network of choice. There are many reasons why you should use Facebook, which are beyond the scope of this post, but I will say this, they have the most members! Having said that you can use what we will be going over on other social networks, don’t limit yourself to just one!
Step #1: Sign up and fill out your profile as fully as possible. Put up pictures of the dealership, staff, family, other sold customers and employees having a good time. Remember that this is a social network and the goal here is to build relationships through building trust. People trust what they are familiar with, show your human side, you’re not just a car dealership you are people and people want to buy from people not a brand.
Step #2: Create a series of customer care videos. These should include people in the dealership such as a service tech explaining how and when certain maintenance work should be done, how to change wiper blades and how to gauge when it’s time for new tires.
You can have a video of your detail staff giving tips on how to get a stain out of upholstery and the best way to wax a car. You can even have your salespeople create model specific videos where they teach how to use memory seating or the GPS. The idea here is to give value, give people a reason for wanting to become your friend on Facebook.
Step #3: Have cards made up that you can give to every sold customer (you can give them to everybody actually) that lists the benefits of befriending you on Facebook. List the videos that are available and it’s even a good idea to say that you give out coupons for oil changes , detailing and break inspections. Use your imagination with this, there are literally thousands of things you can do with this. The sky is the limit
Step #4: Give out good tips, fascinating links and other news that you think will interest people. Don’t talk about yourself and post every one of your vehicle (a few here and there is fine) because then you will be seen as a place that only wants to promote themselves, makes you just “another car dealership.”
Focus on local stuff as well, things that affect your customers on a personal level. Talking about whats going on in your city shows that you care about what’s happening to your customers. These can be status updates, links to videos or even your local newspapers website.
Step #5: Engage your customers. Look at what they are saying and respond to them. You don’t have to do this for every one of them every day but make it a habit to interact with your “friends” on Facebook as much as possible. The goal here is to become human, to build rapport and to build trust.
So there you have it! One way that you can use social media to increase your customer retention. If you remove the technology aspect of this strategy you will see only networking. It’s what we have always done, keep in mind that the car business is a people business, never forget that, now go build your referral base!