Browsing articles tagged with " Customer Loyalty"
May
23

Is 2 Percent Good Enough for You?

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Every dealer wants a nice healthy portion of their market share. But what if it was only 2 percent? Would that be good enough? Probably not.

Well, according to a recent interview in Automotive News, North American chief for Mazda, Masahiro Moro, thinks it is… However, in the article he states that there’s a difference between 2 percent and a “good” 2 percent, which mainly ties back into higher transaction prices and lower incentives. With a better customer experience, Moro feels Mazda can lower vehicle inventories and increase dealership profitability.

Of course, that’s not his ultimate goal. Mazda has seen brand loyalty grow from 30 percent in 2011, to 39 percent in 2016 – and that’s just the beginning. Moro would ultimately like to see it surpass 50 percent, but his current focus is on small milestones along the way, his ultimate goal being Mazda having the highest brand loyalty in the industry.

While certainly an admirable goal, it’s a steep hill to climb given Mazda’s limited models. That being said, he has the right idea… one which applies to any business seeking to increase customer loyalty, revenue or retention — and that is small steps. Setting any goal too high without a plan to accomplish it can overwhelm employees and will more than likely fail.

However, don’t misunderstand me, knowing the destination is important. But, if you don’t know how you’re going to get there, and lack plans for each stage, it will be hard to accomplish. Society is constantly changing, as are your customers. What may work to improve customer loyalty and retention today, may look different five years from now.

It would be great if we could all simply make a business plan that played itself out to completion — but life intervenes. So keep your mind open, your ears to the wall and eyes on the prize and be willing to change and adapt when and if it’s necessary. You’ll find that perhaps that 2 percent IS really enough… for the moment.

May
16

5 Things That Make a Great Customer Experience

By Mike Gorun  //  June, May, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Customer experience is increasingly important in business. Retail shops now compete for customer wallets with behemoths such as Amazon. As a result, stores now have to prove to customers will receive a superior experience more valuable than the convenience of clicking a button to have their product show up at their door in 2 days.

In addition, customer experience can be a fuzzy concept, with many definitions floating around. While most know what a great customer experience FEELS like, it’s very hard to define. And, if you can’t define it, you can’t create it.

I came across an excellent article that outlined an interview with Brainshark COO Diane Gordon. In the interview, Diane shared the best definition I have seen of customer experience, outlining the five components that make a great customer experience. I thought I would share these points and how they can apply to our industry:

  1. Relationship is mutually beneficial. For dealers to build customer loyalty, customers must feel as if they are not just a transaction. People don’t want to feel as if all they mean to you is money in the cash register. They’d rather feel that they’re helping your dealership succeed by paying money in exchange for you helping solve a problem for them – and that you are doing it with genuine and sincere intent.
  2. Customers feel valued/respected. Remember the classic TV show “Cheers.” One line in the theme song resonates and illustrates this point, “You want to go where everybody knows your name.” Who doesn’t like walking into a business they frequent regularly and be greeted by name. Why does this make a difference? Because when this happens, customers realize that a business values them enough to remember them. You can also make a customer feel valued and respected through quality loyalty programs, and by taking the time to listen to customer feedback and then act upon it.
  3. They believe doing business with you is easy. Everybody wants easy. That’s exactly how Amazon has grown so fast, put some companies out of business and disrupted entire industries. However, don’t immediately confuse easy as fast. There are things customers want done quickly, as time is valuable to them. But sometimes personalized attention, which makes the process easier and a better experience for the customer, can mean a longer process. Every customer will have different needs and wants. The ability to tailor the experience based on that particular customer is the key to your customers knowing that doing business with you is easy.
  4. Sense that employees love working there. Genuinely happy employees are one of the best ways to broadcast your dealership is a good place for customers to do business. Typically, when employees love working for you, that translates into better customer service, empathy for customers, and the desire to ensure your business succeeds by providing extraordinary customer service.
  5. Feeling that they (the customer) are part of a strong community. Feeling included has been important to most people their whole lives – from grade school sports and clubs all the way to the present. When your customers can tell that other customers are happy and enjoy doing business with you, it encourages them to feel the same way. So be sure to have a good review program in place that promotes good reviews, allows customers to post reviews and that has a way of contacting and handling any negative customer reviews.

A great customer experience is something that all businesses should strive for. But keep in mind that it is not just something you define, but rather something your customers do. Take time to examine these five components to a great customer experience as they relate to your business.

May
2

Clever Interactions with Customers Create Customer Loyalty

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Service Satisfaction IndicatorAs consumers increasingly shift their shopping online, choosing to skip visits to traditional retailers, it’s become difficult for businesses to get that all important relationship-building face-to-face time.

In the automotive industry, a similar shift is happening. Industry disrupters are taking the whole purchasing process online, forcing major automotive companies to develop technology that allows consumers to do the same thing, but directly through the dealership.

However, the one thing that many fail to realize is that – without physical interaction – it’s hard to establish trust. A key differentiator franchised dealers still have going for them right now is their service departments. But, even there, customers want convenience, fast transactions and, most of all, good communication.

So, the most forward-thinking dealers take advantage of technology that updates customers via text message and allows approval of service recommendations online or via a smartphone.

And, some dealers are really personalizing the customer experience with this technology.

A friend of a friend, Blake, shared a wonderful interaction he had with a repair facility after his new Jeep, just two weeks old, was stolen. When the Jeep was recovered, it was in poor condition. As Blake waited for his vehicle to be repaired, he occasionally received text messages from the repair facility, updating him on the status of his vehicle. Blake is well known for his sense of humor and he sent a funny reply to one of those updates. Surprisingly, the repair shop played along and this resulted in a truly wonderful customer interaction, one that Blake will not soon forget. As a result, he has widely shared it with his family, friends and associates.

You can read the conversation for yourself.

 

 

Yes, believe it or not, this is a real conversation!

Blake got such a kick out of it that he shared it on social media, where many of his friends also found the humor in it. The repair shop brilliantly injected personality into its communications and engaged the consumer. Blake was certainly frustrated that his 2-week old car needed to be in for repairs and the clever banter back and forth with the car repair shop injected a little light-hearted humor into the conversation and accomplished its goal – to keep Blake informed on the status of his vehicle.

As a result, the experience with this car repair shop is certainly memorable for Blake – and in a very good way. The communication had a very personal touch and is obviously not automated. This personal interaction has already led to exposure via word-of-mouth on his social network.

And, there is a very strong chance that, should Blake need repair services in the future, he will return.

Today, customer experience is King. It’s more important than ever to stand out, provide memorable experiences and personalized interactions in order to differentiate your dealership.

This car repair shop figured out a way to personalize the experience by interjecting humor, while keeping the customer informed. By so doing, it will definitely stand out to its customers, and, these unique experiences and interactions should lead to increased retention, word-of-mouth customer acquisition, exposure and, ultimately, more customer loyalty.

Apr
18

Customer Satisfaction Failures Can impact your Wallets

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

 

Unhappy and Happy Smileys on Visual ScreenIn the wake of the backlash from the recent United Airlines incident, it has been widely reported that many airline CEO’s salaries are, at least in part, connected to customer satisfaction scores. In the case of United’s CEO Oscar Munoz, poor customer satisfaction ratings can cost him about $500,000 in bonuses. The CEOs of Southwest Airlines and Delta have similar contractual clauses.

On top of that, one poor experience – especially if it’s perceived by many as being egregious – can, by itself, ruin an airline’s entire quarter, or even the year. In fact, in the case of United Airlines, at one point their valuation dropped about $1 billion, according to USA Today.

But what about an industry closer to our hearts, that is similarly hyper-competitive and also has financial repercussions for poor customer satisfaction scores?

Yes, I am talking about the automotive industry.

Manufacturers penalize franchisees that fail to meet customer satisfaction expectations through loss of revenue including stair step money and other incentives. And some dealers even include CSI expectations in their managers’ and salespeople pay plans. Failure to meet these goals can have a trickle-down effect that costs everyone in the dealership money.

Poor customer satisfaction can also lead to outraged customers who defect to your competitors – taking friends and family with them. This can then force your dealership to increase spending on acquisition, which is much more expensive than retention.

As consumer choice continues to expand, customer experience is increasingly more important. Customers are no longer willing to put up with a bad experience – and they are more than happy to share that poor experience with the world via online review sites and social media.

It really doesn’t matter whether the customer is right or wrong. It’s about how the experience is perceived. That specific United flight needed four volunteers to leave the plane. Three complied without incident. One customer chose not to. While it’s probably safe to say the other three people also had a poor experience and were inconvenienced, we don’t know their story. However, because that one person was treated extremely poorly, and it was captured on video by several customers, we know what happened on that flight. And, because of that, while it did not happen to them directly, other United customers are cutting up their United loyalty and branded credit cards. They are outraged that a company they had been loyal to would allow such a poor customer experience. A single bad experience – and arguably poor employee handling at that time – put United at risk and became the catalyst for a mass defection.

While your dealership probably doesn’t have to worry about an incident of this magnitude, it’s all a matter of scale. The United incident is simply a good illustration of the backlash that can happen due to a poor customer experience, along with poor employee decisions and actions in the heat of the moment.

In the end, it’s far less expensive to suck it up and fix the problem and/or apologize, than it is to take the chance that a customer chooses to share their experience with the world.

Customer experience has grown into one of the biggest differentiator for any business– so the choice is to either embrace that change and ensure a great customer experience, or watch your customers flock to competitors.

Mar
28

How One Dealer’s Gumbo Attracted His Community

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  No Comments

A recent article in Automotive News tells the story of Carlos Liriano, a car dealer from New Orleans who migrated his dealership to Texas and brought with him a passion – gumbo. Initially, it started as a way to show appreciation to and treat his employees every month. But, at his dealership’s 5-year anniversary, he decided to invite the community, and they came. And, not only did they come when it first started, the community has kept coming to the point where customers are actually scheduling service appointments on the day gumbo is served.

What started with a couple of gallons of gumbo has grown into 25 gallons, feeding over 250 people. This dealer’s passion – and tradition – is increasing service business along with the top thing that every dealer wants – selling cars.

But why is his gumbo tradition so successful? Serving food at dealerships isn’t a new thing. How many dealers serve hot dogs, drinks and such on weekends? A lot.

What makes this so successful perhaps begins with the fact that his family’s gumbo recipe is good. Secondly, and most importantly, he chose to share that with both his staff and his local community – and it paid off. Even his digital marketing and social media efforts are reaping the rewards and endearing his dealership to the community.

Community involvement is a vital component in branding, in building trust and the DESIRE for local residents to do business with your dealership. Building trust with consumers isn’t always an easy task – especially if you’re a car dealer. The stereotypes and poor consumer perception can be an uphill battle. The big gorillas and wavy tube men do nothing but attract attention – and most of the time that attention simply confirms that the dealership is “just another car dealership.” There are many ways to stand out in your community and every community is different. Mr. Liriano simply embraced HIS passion for gumbo and then involved his community.

Consider exploring opportunities to embrace and involve your dealership in the local community. Keep in mind that you may not see results right away. But whatever your passion is, share that with your primary customers. Don’t use it as a selling gimmick, but as a genuine way to reach out to your community, share your passion and build rapport and trust. If you build it, service and sales will come.

Discover your passion and build it.







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