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How to inspire customer loyalty

By Lauren McLean

While it’s not true in all cases, customer loyalty is certainly not what it used to be. With 24/7 access to the internet on mobile devices, and businesses bidding against each other for online ad space, customers can be quick to go to a competitor for a lower price or a better deal.

According to insights from The Survey of the American Consumer, 60 percent of shoppers will abandon their favorite brand for a discounted price, no questions asked. Thirty percent will change brands just out of boredom.

Obviously the number one goal is to become the top preference for your target consumers. Consider the following ideas for driving preference to your dealership over others, in order to inspire loyalty:

Design a customer loyalty program that is all about community

This program can even help to create less work for you, once the community has grown large enough. Members of the community, especially if the central meeting place is on a social media page or somewhere else online, can share information and tips with each other as well as plan events and get-togethers, post updates and participate in conversations on their own.

Distinguish yourself among competitors

Offer something unique. This is where your dealership’s personality can come out – maybe you host a monthly pancake breakfast for the members of your loyalty program, or a quarterly cook-out for first-time buyers to get them acquainted with both your community and other like-minded customers. Maybe you include a gift with purchase, like a vintage record on vinyl from a band that was popular in the year that your dealership first opened its doors.

Go above and beyond in serving your customers

When customers see that the utmost effort has been given on their behalf, they are much more likely to remain loyal to you for that reason.

  • Even small things that may not mean much to you could be game-changers for your customers – including free service inspections for the first two years after a purchase, for example.
  • Provide access to valuable industry information – trends, tips and tricks, and more. Creating value as an industry leader can go a long way in the eyes of your customers.
  • Practice superior customer service. It seems like an obvious one, but it often gets overlooked. For some guidance, click here.
  • Promote a simple and satisfying buyer experience. Make things easy and even enjoyable. Paperwork and accounting aren’t fun, even for people who are excited about their new purchase, but with a little creativity the process can be less painful. Your dealership could even just provide hot coffee and treats for your customers while they go through the payment process.

Taking a little time and effort to figure out how to inspire loyalty is what it all comes down to at the end of the day. As long as you are actively trying to improve your dealership and business structure for the benefits of your customers, you’ll get the notice that you deserve. People notice these efforts and appreciate them, and that is where you start to achieve customer loyalty.

Lauren McLean is the public relations manager for Dealer Spike, a company that provides innovative websites as well as a suite of powerful online advertising solutions that help marine dealers help increase sales and service profitability. For more information, visit www.DealerSpikeMarine.com or call 800-288-5917.

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