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The big picture: News stories create revenue

Two recent news stories highlight the need for retailers to have regular communication with their customers: recalls and the high number that slip through the network every time a manufacturer issues a notice, and the faulty fuel concerns that has affected an estimated 10,000 drivers.

Both create confusion and, in both cases, dealers could improve the image of the motor industry by staying in close contact with consumers.

The fuel issue is, in many ways, characteristic of the lack of information that can lead to a break down in relations between drivers and the industry. A week on from the first cases and the cause is only now becoming clear – contamination of silicon.

How could dealers help? By contacting your customers to ask if they had noticed any problems with their cars and to offer a free healthcheck. It’s the ideal reason for getting in touch with every car buyer on your database – they are your customers.

Most will be unaffected by the fuel problems. Some might be, while others might have noticed something else wrong with the car and your phone call, email, text message or letter (you should know how each customer prefers to be contacted) could prompt them to bring in their car for an assessment.

The customer gets reassurance and the dealer has an opportunity to fix any other faults on the car, pocketing some extra revenue as a result.

Communication is an even bigger issue with recalls, where all too often confusion reigns. Lots of drivers slip through the net.

It should be dealers’ and repairers’ responsibility to inform customers about a recall and it needs something more forceful than a letter in the post.

You know which customers are affected and you know if they haven’t had the fault repaired. If you’ve sent them a letter and they haven’t noticed it, it’s your fault not their’s.

Don’t be afraid to call them, text them and email them to get the problem sorted – that’s customer service.

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