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Customer retention becomes a growing challenge for dealers

Dealers need focus on customer retention particularly in the current economically difficult times. However, keeping them coming back is becoming more challenging due to the changing nature of the consumer.

That was the message from Andrew Bryan, associate director of research at the Henley Centre for Customer Management, who spoke at last month’s AM Finance Conference.

“Customers are getting more demanding, they will complain more and they are more sceptical,” he said “Customers’ trust is shifting.”

Customers are more educated, they have researched a car before they enter a showroom, which means power has shifted. Despite this, the underlying fact remains that customer retention is extremely profitable. 

“The more you can retain customers, the greater the positive impact on your profits,” said Bryan.

“Experience is extremely important,” said Bryan. Product quality represents only 30% of the overall satisfaction rating. The perfect experience means a perfect search experience, a perfect purchase experience and a perfect ownership experience.

A recent survey found that 40% of buyers will choose the same make of car if both the car is good and the dealer experience was good. However, if the dealer experience was poor, that drops to just 16%, even if they were happy with the car. But where they were unhappy with the car, but happy with the dealer, 24% said they would buy the same marque again.

Ensuring a quality customer experience means staff must deliver on many areas including being helpful, fulfil their promises, be competent, recognise customers and value their time and be able to solve customers’ problems.

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