So many solutions you use for your dealership have a direct correlation between advertising/marketing to revenue generated. And in this blog I’ve said numerous times you should measure response of your marketing to know if it’s effectively paying for itself and driving meaningful revenue. But as we all know to really create a good customer experience and relationship you need to go beyond constantly pushing offers. You need to treat your customers the way you’d like to be treated.
Social media gives you the conversational channel. You can post things like photos of events or poll questions to engage customers. Those aren’t necessarily things you expect to generate revenue from. But they are also casual and not very timely. You rarely expect an immediate response from customers through social media.
Traditional advertising, even email marketing, is not going to be effective to help engage customers on a personal level either. It has it’s place and time but not typically in real time.
Mobile is again the medium you can turn to to create that personal connection with a customer that will continue to enhance your status as a trusted business that is meaningful to them. Here are several ideas to consider communicating to customers that have almost no promotional/self-serving aspect from your dealership.
Weather — As the latest “snowpocalypse” bears down on the country and over your customers you know this is very impactful on business. But it’s also impactful on your customer’s ability to find reasons to visit you. If you find yourself without power or the phones are down or you have to close early or open late you should send a quick text message alerting customers of the situation. They will appreciate the communication because perhaps they were going to brave the cold conditions to buy that necessary part or have a cup of coffee with their favorite sales associate. Giving them a heads up will very well received and most likely get them back in the first time the weather allows.
Thank you — We teach our children at a very young age to say please and thank you. Why? Because it’s important to show gratitude. Plus, we know how good it feels to be thanked. So when your customer makes a purchase you should immediately thank them but also follow up with a text alert “thank you.” Utilize a texting solution that allows your staff to easily manage their customer relationships and send these thank you themselves. Add personalization like the customers name or item they purchased to the message to make it even more impactful. Again, you’ve already made the sell so don’t bother in pushing more products or services on them at this point.
Reminder — I previously blogged about service reminders. Sending a simple text for a reminder of an appointment the customer has with you for service is so easy. And in most cases can be totally automated if you use the right mobile solution. But it has an amazing impact on the customer’s opinion of you as a dealer that you thought enough to consider how value their time is to send them a quick heads up the day before or morning of the appointment. Again use personalization features to address the customer by name and even include their equipment they are having worked on.
Inclusion — Consider giving your customers a voice about your dealership’s day-to-day operations, or events or products or services you offer. Use a texting feedback solution that would allow customers to send you suggestions via text from their phone and then you respond to that feedback. Send them a text alert asking them to vote on something you’re considering for an event. Perhaps the food trucks you are considering or certain local bands they may want to hear. Engaging the customer by asking their opinion fosters a sense of ownership they have with you. They feel they are part of “the team” and they are helping you become a better business.
Internal — One huge area that you probably underserve is your own staff. Communicating critical deadlines and information to them is so vital to your overall success. Consider having an internal mobile club for staff-related communication. Alert them of deadlines for HR related initiatives like health insurance or payroll benefits. If you have to close for weather send a text alert to the staff the night before that they don’t need to come in to work the next day. Send motivational messages that boost confidence in sales or service or a good customer experience that everyone should be aware of. Keeping your staff in the know and happy will pay huge dividends in the long run.
Ron Cariker is owner/president of 7 Media Group, a diverse mobile marketing firm based in the U.S. and the leading mobile provider for the powersports industry. Ron and his company have worked with over 100 dealers across the U.S. for the past 6 1/2 years.