Many of the benefits of keeping tabs on your customers’ experiences are instinctive: you naturally want to please your customers and ensure that they are happy with your products and services. You value your loyal customers and want to keep them coming back. And let’s be honest: most dealerships carry the same products. The manufacturers invest in the quality of those products and the brandname recognition, so what sets your business apart from others is the experience your customers have in your store and with your employees.
Staying connected to your customers has a better ROI than attracting new sales
Attracting new customers is time consuming and expensive.
The marketing efforts and advertising campaigns required to reach a new audience are not only expensive, they are a lot of work. Most dealerships will outsource the ad creative design and the ad buys to pricey agencies, and that’s not even counting the cost associated with the ad space itself, or the time required to nurture new contacts into actual sales. Once you add up the advertising and other marketing campaigns, plus the sales effort required to cultivate the relationship, it turns out that acquiring a new customer can cost up to 5x what it costs to keep existing customers.
Customers are loyal…until they aren’t
Just one unaddressed poor customer service experience can cause a third of buyers to take their business elsewhere, and more than 90% will jump ship after repeated poor experiences. The problem is that you will likely not know that they’re unhappy if you’re not making an effort to connect with them. Studies have shown that a tiny percentage of customers–as few as 1 in 26– will raise an issue to you unsolicited. The rest just go away.
Existing customers are more likely to complete a purchase
A customer who already knows you, your products, and your sales team is five times as likely to complete a purchase as a completely new customer. The time originally invested in attracting that customer and closing a sale will continue to pay off in the form of repeat business if that relationship is monitored and cultivated.
Happy customers lead to more happy customers
Word of mouth and positive online reviews drive more new sales than any paid advertising program ever could. Your happy customers will tell friends and family about their great experiences, and those endorsements have more impact than any ad program ever could. Plus, over 90% of potential customers are influenced by online reviews. It’s essential to keep your happy customers’ stories flowing!
An intentional program yields the best results
The importance of being closely attuned to your customers’ experiences is clear, and too important to be left to chance. This is why more than 80% of businesses invest in a structured customer engagement program, which should have some key foundations:
- It should be designed to maximize customer response. This includes the visual design of the surveys, the wording of the questions, and the accessibility of the survey itself.
- It should provide actionable data. The responses to the surveys must be presented in such a way that trends are as apparent as individual issues.
- It should have a mechanism for flagging problems with a plan to address them.
- It should be consistent. Customer experiences are not isolated in time, so your program needs to be an ongoing effort, not a one-time collection.
In summary, given that the majority of your competitive advantage rests on your customers’ experiences, the return on the investment you make in staying connected with your customers in the form of increased sales and business growth will far eclipse anything you could achieve through other marketing efforts. If you invest the time and effort in being keenly aware of these experiences, you will set your business apart.
Sources: Forbes, Kolsky, PwC, Invesp, American Express