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Customer Retention

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Alexander Lau, Jan 12, 2018 at 10:50 AM.

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  1. Alexander Lau

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    So, I didn't see a dedicated thread to this. Obviously I can query them, but which vendors work specifically in customer retention? IOW, which are the best strategies in automotive for customer retention (sales and fixed-ops) and who's doing it the best?
     
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  3. craigh

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    The best way to keep customers is to treat them properly at every stage of the pre-purchase, post-purchase and service life cycle.
    You can get all the fancy software in the world, but most dealers still don't take care of an existing customer until there's a problem.

    Dealers are so focused on leads, new customer acquisition, autotrader clickthrough rate - I rarely see them spending this time and effort on true retention. I'm not talking about AutoAlert, upgrade events and other marketing tactics, just ongoing proper client care.

    The best retention strategies I've seen involve a BDC, scheduled (yet personalized) emails and kickass happy staff.
     
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  4. Brendan Dolan

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    God this is right on. I'm currently with a Fixed Ops Software and Marketing company, and we do a ton to help dealers pick up these numbers. While I can go on and on about different campaigns, here's what I tell stores when I pitch them our services.

    TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. Yes, I yelled. It's that important.

    Give your customers status updates on their vehicles service.

    Explain all work that was done.

    Set their next appointment before they pay the current RO.

    Remind them to show up for their appointment with a phone call and a text.

    If your customers have a pleasant experience with your advisor, they knew what was going on, what the costs were, when it was ready, and all work was performed and explained, they'll say yes to coming back. Great companies like mine can't fix a bad in store process, and we can't layer in a system that fixes advisors pissing people off. We can only enable the stores that want to succeed by giving them access to better tools.
     
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  5. Alexander Lau

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    I'm in agreement with you chaps. Was looking for the software leaders in this field.
     
  6. Brendan Dolan

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    Is this where it's appropriate to plug my company? :poke::rofl:
     
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  7. craigh

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    It depends which aspects of retention I think.

    For example, we have a product that does sales retention by mining customer data for eligible customers, sending them letters and an email alerting them to their upgrade eligibility, tracking their responses, actions, clicks, etc. It works great for catching customers before they leave for another dealership, but it doesn't focus on retention in the first 24 months of their ownership. We recently added service functionality so that we're using the same communications channels to alert customers of pending maintenance, service discounts, etc - does a much better job of retention in the early months of ownership, but the core philosophy is still targeting the right customers and communicating the right (relevant) message to them.

    There are many others in the industry that help mine data (ie: AutoAlert), handle the communications (MailChimp), track customers (VinSolutions), etc. I don't know that there's one leader in this area, but I do believe there is plenty of room for growth and improvement on both the vendor and dealer sides.
     
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  8. Alexander Lau

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  9. Alexander Lau

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    Nice, familiar with those. I guess I was looking for the total package. That which is wrapped specifically for all that you had mentioned. You're right, there's room.
     
  10. craigh

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    We tried specifically to get away from cross dependency.
    For example, we don't rely on AutoAlert to filter customers for us and we don't rely on Company X to deliver the email.
    Being able to do everything in one place made it much easier to expand functionality without having our hands tied.

    In my opinion, the trickiest part is still humans. Someone has to use the tool, read the alerts, approve the campaigns, etc.
     
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  11. Brendan Dolan

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    Here's where I'm going to plug my company. :D

    To drive fixed ops retention at my old group, here is the system we built. It was built this way years ago, and I hear has since changed. But in 2011 to 2015 it was:

    -Onstation for email marketing
    -Demandforce for texting
    -Xtime for scheduling
    -Factory direct mailer for reminders and lost souls
    -Service BDC for inbound and outbound calls
    -Forget the name of our rewards program

    At Total Customer Connect, we tackle the A to Z, with one dashboard, one login, and more importantly one DMS fee. I'm chatting with the powers that be at my old group to build this scenario:

    -Email marketing: welcome email, service reminders, recalls, etc
    -Online appointment scheduler that has factory recommended maintenance menus, two way texting, etc
    -Those same service menus on tablets in the drive
    -Walk around tool, MPI and route sheet
    -On demand BDC services for overflow calls, and lost soul calls (most BDC's suck at these calls since they aren't trained and held accountable)

    Having one login to schedule appointments, text, show service costs, perform a walk around, MPI, monitor email campaign performance and monitor on demand BDC services, with one DMS fee is pretty slick. I never found that when I was a decision maker in my group. I could get some of it, but not all of it, and when you have people logging in to numerous places and using numerous vendors it turns into cat herding pretty quick.

    Our system is meant to be used like the dentist. Once we have you, you're communicated with via email, text and humans to make sure you make the appointment, stick to the appointment, and make the next one.

    Hope I didn't commit a forum faux pas but giving the elevator pitch.
     
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