How to Retain Satisfied Customers

In my previous post, I wrote about a troubling statistic released by Bain & Company that shows how even satisfied customers defect to the competition.  What does it take to retain those satisfied customers?

According to countless studies, it costs 4 to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one (some studies even place it as high as 30 times more expensive!).  Think of all the money you’re investing to get new customers in the door.  How much are you spending for those new leads?  According to NADA Data, dealerships are spending over $600 in advertising per new unit sold, on average.  All this to acquire a new customer, “satisfy” them, and send them along their merry way to a competitor for their next service or purchase.

Now consider the fact that existing customers spend 67% more than newly acquired customers.  Both of these stats are common business knowledge, but sadly so often overlooked.

The reality is you’re pumping tons of money into lead generation to acquire new customers, who will likely defect even after giving positive CSI scores.  At the same time, the loyal customers who have already opened their wallets and are spending significantly more are being neglected.  Does that math work out for anyone? Can you rely on that first customer experience to persuade your customer to come back again and again? I mean they said they were satisfied, right?

No – the truth is, a focus on customer retention is critical to the overall success of your company.  Take a moment and think about your current advertising spend.  What percentage is focused on keeping your existing customers?  Be honest about it – don’t redefine “existing customers” to make your results more favorable.  What percentage is truly devoted to customer retention?

You know that existing customers cost significantly less and spend significantly more. Why then wouldn’t you invest in your current customers? What does that mean for your bottom line? According to leading customer loyalty researcher and inventor of the Net Promotor Score, Fred Reichheld, a 5% increase in customer retention can improve a company’s bottom-line profitability by between 25% and 85%. Can you afford not to focus on customer loyalty?

Cultivating true customer loyalty starts with showing customers appreciation for their business. By rewarding them, you lock them into future business. That investment goes a long way.

Sure, it’s different from what you’ve done before – but was that old way really driving dramatic results?  According to Jeff Bezos, CEO of, “What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” 

Stay tuned for the conclusion of this series where I discuss tips, tools and programs that keep your most profitable customers coming back.

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Nate Sieveking


Tips for Successful Automotive Email Marketing


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Email marketing is alive and well, and can be extremely effective when done right. If you own a car dealership and are thinking about revamping your automotive email marketing campaign, try these savvy tips:

  • Start with a healthy email database. The best email marketing campaign on the planet won’t be effective if you’re not reaching your target audience. Make sure your email list is accurate and up-to-date with current contact information for your customers and prospects.
  • Add appropriate data. The more data you have about your prospects, the more effective your email marketing will be. Details such as the make, model, and year of the vehicle they currently drive as well as demographic information such as gender, age, occupation, estimated income, and lifestyle are all important. With that type of data, you can create personalized emails that are much more likely to be effective.
  • Make emails mobile responsive. According to the Direct Marketing Association, approximately 65 percent of emails are opened on a mobile device. If your email won’t open or display well on a mobile device, it will most likely get deleted.
  • Utilize triggered email marketing. You can increase revenue per email, retention, program ROI and customer lifetime value by sending emails triggered by customer behavior. Considering that triggered email messages enjoy a 152 percent higher click through rate than tradition bulk messages (according to, developing these types of emails is absolutely worth it.
  • Follow up. Incredibly, Cobalt Group’s National Automotive eShopper Experience Study revealed that 24 percent of email generated leads are ignored by dealers. What’s more, of those who do respond, 30 percent don’t follow up. Simply following up with information pertinent to your email leads will do wonders.

Finally, always proofread and edit your emails to make sure they are free from grammatical and spelling errors. Nothing says “unprofessional” like a sloppy email.

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Benefits of Email Marketing

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Many car dealers, large and small, use email marketing to effectively drive customers to their business. Car dealerships should incorporate automotive email marketing into their overall marketing strategy. Here are some benefits of email marketing:

Cost Effective
Email marketing offers a big return on your investment. For every dollar spent, your return could be as high as $40 – which is why even small businesses use it as a marketing solution.

Low Cost
There are no costs for mailing or printing, and you don’t have to pay for a billboard or advertising time on radio or television. The cost of sending emails is much lower than other types of marketing.

Less Time and Effort
Compared to other strategies such as postal mailings and telemarketing campaigns, email marketing can be accomplished in an hour or two. All you need is one copy of the approved email and an address list. The time needed can be advantageous for special sales or promotions that last just a few days.

Add a Personal Touch
Unlike the form letters used in the past, an email message can be personalized with a name or other information. Emails can be sent a certain amount of time after the customer made a purchase, or even on their birthday.

Test Which Emails Are More Effective
You’ll have the ability to send one version of an email advertisement to part of your list and another version to the second part. This is an easy way to tell which format works better. Email marketing has tracking tools that can give you information about people’s responses and which emails, font colors or headlines received the best response.

Easy to Pass On
When a subscriber receives an email and finds it to contain useful information, he can send the email to friends with a simple click. This is important if the subscriber is already favorable to your company, since word-of-mouth is a valuable tool.

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