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Driving data: managing retention through CRM

Aftersales retention can be measured in many ways and we hear lots of opinions on what contact channels and processes work best but they are not often backed up by hard facts, more a gut feeling. 

MDF Database Solutions Ltd recently started measuring retention for our clients in more depth based on marketing channel and the impact making outbound calls has. 

Here we present the results of a study across a six-month period, from March 2016 to August 2016, covering our 400 dealer clients, where over 600,000 MOT/Service reminder events (across all vehicle ages) were presented and fulfilled by our MDF360 CRM software. 

Through the clever use of data, we can now be more accurate about what works best for each of our clients and the brands they represent.

Which Marketing Channel Works Best?

We measured retention by which marketing channel was used first with interesting results. 

In summary, the highest levels of retention are seen amongst customers that are sent an email as the first contact, this is wholly expected as we promote a more targeted follow-up process based on online engagement.

This is followed by mail in 2nd place with SMS surprisingly coming in a poor 3rd resulting in us looking at ways to improve SMS response. 

Our initial thoughts are that whilst SMS’s create an immediacy in their delivery/reading, customers may not always be able to respond at the point of reading be it online or calling the site. 

This is unlike with the reading of email/mail where customers are likely in a better position to do so or are more likely to return to it. 

We’ll be digging a little deeper as there are other things that could be causing a challenge such as booking pages that are not mobile friendly.

Big Increase in Retention from Outbound Calls

We also measure retention based on whether an outbound call is made to the customer or not so we can clearly confirm the benefits. 

This also allows us to promote outbound activity amongst dealers that choose not to invest in resource/outsourcing in this area.

Clearly outbound calls come with large gains with an uplift in retention of 48% more MOTs and 36% more services where calls are made vesus where not. 

To the average franchised car dealer with 200 MOTs and 240 services due per month, £10,000 per month in ROI is generated from making just a few calls each day. 

This can be the difference between hitting budget/parts targets and not.

What about VHC amber work?

We extend this analysis to VHC amber follow up, which is new functionality for us where we take EVHC system data matching it with DMS and service plan data for a more joined up customer view. 

We have a much smaller data set of around 5,000 contact events so far which is not sufficient to draw solid conclusions on marketing success yet however, the compelling message that making calls generates a lot of additional business is even more evident:


Data really matters…

Retention is hugely impacted by the quantity and quality of data being captured by the users of the DMS. 

With an average one-in-five MOT reminders being sent at completely the wrong time by dealers it’s not hard to see why retention suffers and customers can become despondent. 

Data is another critical area we focus our dealers on including what is being captured into the EVHC system as amber follow-up work (type of work and when to follow-up) as well as in the DMS (due dates, contact details etc).

As 100% of MOT reminders sent from MDF 360 are sent based on DVLA data, our clients do not suffer with responses of ‘not due yet’ which helps massively with retention and outbound call success. 

Next we’ll be looking at retention by vehicle age and brand plus some of the above areas in more detail and the relative differences in calling and not to see where the biggest wins are. 

Author: Chris Poulsom, CRM Director, MDF Database Solutions Ltd

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