The Missing Link to Customer Loyalty

Today’s automotive customers are becoming increasingly more fickle and are demanding fast and responsive customer service from the dealers. Customer loyalty is more the exception than the norm because sales and service customers have too many options, allowing them to easily defect to a competitor. This means that dealers are constantly trying to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors by enhancing customer service; in particular being more responsive to their customer’s needs and requests. The secret to Customer Loyalty is very simple…enhance the customer’s overall dealership interaction experience.

Any time a customer comes into contact with any aspect of your dealership, however remote, that customer has an opportunity to form an impression that will influence their future decision on whether or not to return. For example, when a customer or prospect calls your dealership looking to purchase a vehicle or to have service performed, they expect the call to be answered in a timely and professional manner. They also expect a courteous and responsive interaction. If this doesn’t happen, then the caller has had a bad experience resulting in a negative impression.

With the majority of cases, you only get one chance to make a “good impression” during a customer interaction. Sometimes, due to different reasons, you may get a second chance to make a “good impression.” So, the key is to define and implement specific customer-centric communication processes to improve the overall customer interaction experience.

Today, many dealers are investigating ways to manage their customer interaction process. Some are creating in-house business development centers (BDC), but are finding that BDC’s are too expensive to maintain or troublesome to manage. Other dealers are looking at the benefits of “outsourcing” their BDC’s to gain scalability of resources and lower associated costs, as well as gain 24/7 coverage to ensure that they are prepared to interact with their customers when their customers are ready to interact with them.

Regardless of the method employed, remember: profitable and long-term customer relationships are a by-product of effective customer interactions that ultimately result in positive customer experiences.

~ Gary Mitchell

Director, Telephony & Virtual BDC Products, DMEautomotive

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