What makes customers loyal?

By Lauren McLean

The loyalty of your customers is not something to take lightly. Conventional business wisdom, according to LinkedIn, says that it costs ten times as much to earn a new customer than to keep a current one. While it’s obvious that one of your main goals as a business is to earn new business, it’s also very much worthy of your time to focus on customer retention. On top of that, your loyal customers are your best salespeople! They’re the ones riding your bikes around town and recommending your dealership to their friends.

What drives customer loyalty? It’s not as easy as it used to be. Customers have access to nearly unlimited options now because of online marketing and e-commerce. Your competitors are likely targeting your customers and trying to offer them something better. The important task at hand is to overpower your competitors – make sure that your dealership delivers better.

There are many touchpoints that you might already be focused on before gaining a customer, but you need to make sure you aren’t forgetting about the vital contact points that occur after that first purchase.

  • Don’t let new customers fall into the trap of buyer’s remorse. You want them to be happy and satisfied with their purchase, show it off to others, and talk about how great of an experience they had at your dealership.
  • Make your customer feel like he or she is joining a community by making a purchase at your store. Using the contact information they provide, make sure to practice plenty of follow-up. Maybe a “Thank you for your business” email the next day; a “Tell us about your experience” email three days post-purchase; a check-in phone call two weeks later; and so on. Also, be sure to keep customers in the loop about promotions, events, and more.
  • Use social media as a tool to strengthen customer relationships. Invite customers to “like” your page, and congratulate them on their purchase through this channel. Post often, and engage with the followers who respond to your content.
  • Consider a loyalty program or something similar for your dealership community. People like to feel like they are building up to a reward, even if it’s something small – for example, a free oil change or t-shirt with a certain amount spent. Simply having a loyalty program in place entices customers to purchase, because it tells them they’ll receive something in return.

Research shows that while customers will always care about prices, and take price comparisons seriously during the buying process, they care more about the quality of the product and the experience they have while buying it. According to data from Accenture, more than half of consumers will end their loyalty to a particular business after having a poor customer service experience. Lithium Technologies found that “83% of customers care just as much about how you treat them as what you’re selling.” This tells us that beyond providing the variety of inventory your customers want, in high-quality condition, your biggest focus should be on customer service. You’ll find that this is what the most successful dealerships really center their sales strategy on. Does the phrase “we treat our customers like family” ring a bell? That’s because it really works!

The truth is that while there are strategic tactics like loyalty programs and social media campaigns that can help to inspire and encourage customer loyalty, when it really comes down to it, your customers want to receive superior and sincere customer service. Focusing on that and making it the backbone of your business will serve you well.

Lauren McLean is the public relations manager at Dealer Spike, a leading web services provider for powersports dealerships. The award-winning digital advertising company is focused on helping dealers increase sales through powerful, distinctive website design and a full suite of online marketing tools to drive results. Dealer Spike’s expertise comes from real-world dealership experience and a team of professionals who also ride. When you work with Dealer Spike, you’re working with digital marketing experts who have a passion for your industry.

Website: www.DealerSpike.com

Phone: 800.288.5917

Email: Press@DealerSpike.com

One comment

  1. Great artilcle Lauren. The most profitable customer is your current customer. Nurture them for repeat business of accessories, service and their next big purchase. The second most profitable is the referral (which you will get as you mentioned them telling their friends). The trust hurdle is already greatly reduced by their referring friend.

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