Why so serious?

Car seller with car in a motor show.
Learn more about loyalty programs for your company

Obviously, one of my jobs is to earn business. Since changing from operations mode a few months back, nothing has been more fun to me than that, at least not since my days in automotive (of course). First thing I did was try to develop a sales process that was the most effective. Any good sales process is going to be picking up the phone and reaching out to dealers, or dropping in to introduce myself and say hello.

More times than not, I get the door slammed in my face. That’s ok, it’s part of the process and those not willing to hear me out probably wouldn’t make good partners anyway. It is funny to me though – in an industry so heavily loaded on the sales side, why wouldn’t a decision maker appreciate the sales process, and at least give a guy an opportunity to earn their business (yes, I said earn, not win)? If you don’t talk to service providers, how do you know you’re getting the best products? Interesting concept to me, especially seeing how many car salesman flock to my car when I pull on to a lot. Frequently, the response I get is, “I don’t talk to salespeople without an appointment.”

Salesperson? Nah. I’m just a guy trying to get our name out there in the industry. But I digress.

Back to the sales process. I reached out to industry friends, colleagues, even vendors (yes, even vendors have vendors) to get their input. I took the time. I developed the process and follow it to the letter.

In the process of developing the process, I discovered something astonishing (that’s sarcasm). Dealers hate being pitched. Probably the reason for the door getting slammed in my face.

When I do get the opportunity to talk to a dealer, I don’t pitch. Pitching is so old school anyways, and our competitors are doing that. I try to find the pain points, any way that we can help. I talk about our product, the value it brings, the responsiveness of our company, the cutting-edge technology, and the relationships that we’ve built. They might like it, they might not.

So, I’m curious – what’s your sales process like? Are you showing value? Do you have a “why buy” statement for your salespeople? If not, you better get on that. Your customers are probably sick of being pitched too.

Need help with your “why buy”? Call me. Conversations are free.

Click here if you liked this story and are considering a loyalty program

Secrets to getting the most out of your customer loyalty program

As you know, at re:member group we specialize in automotive loyalty marketing. And along the way we have learned what makes an automotive loyalty program a success. In today’s fast paced, highly digitalized world, it isn’t enough to just create a loyalty program and hope it does all the heavy lifting for you.

The creation of a successful loyalty program takes into consideration how it interacts with customers, and how well it delivers their wants and needs. Loyalty isn’t a scheme it’s a relationship, and like any relationship, it takes time and hard work, but it is always worth the effort. Studies suggest it costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one, so why not take advantage of that!

Things to think about when designing your program

Set a goal that you want your customer to achieve

For example, if you have an automotive loyalty program in place, your ultimate goal for them may be to redeem their points on a future service, or vehicle purchase. Without a goal for them to reach, they will have no motivation to earn points.

Think about what behaviors you want to reward them for.

Do you want to reward them for filling out a survey, getting their vehicle serviced, referring a friend? Decide on some behaviors that would benefit your company, and let them know how much you appreciate it by rewarding them.

Give them a head start

Do you want to reward them for the simple act of engaging, such as activating their rewards account? Giving them an easy way to earn points when they get started is like giving them a head start. We all know how the endowed progress effect works right? If not, it’s rather interesting, and you should read more about it here.

Make it easy for them to interact

Some loyalty programs make it so confusing to figure out how many points you have, or how you can go about redeeming those points. With our loyalty programs we make sure it is easy for the customer to keep track of their points, redeem points, and understand all the ways they can earn rewards. They can login and see all the important information about their account from any device, making it easy for them to be engaged in the program.

Continue to engage with your customers

We have all done it, signed up for a rewards program just to get a specific discount or benefit, and then it leaves our mind, and we never think about it again. Without interaction, a customer either loses interest, or forgets all about it. That’s why it is important to interact with them by sending them emails, or offers in the mail that allow them to take advantage of special discounts or events. If you treat them like they are important and not just another number, they will be more likely to be repeat customers.

Engaging the customer with a relevant message builds trust and keeps the company on the top of their mind for when they are ready to purchase in the future. According to Retail TouchPoints a customer’s overall satisfaction with a loyalty program is 4.6 fold higher when they receive relevant communications.

Continue to evaluate the existing strategies

Listen to things your rewards members are saying. We get customer feedback on a daily basis in our customer service department. Another way to get honest and helpful feedback is to send out surveys. Find out what existing strategies have been successful. Consistently listen to your customers on an ongoing basis to revise the program as needed. If you can understand the customer needs, then it is easy to craft a valuable customer loyalty program.

When a customer loyalty program is done right, it can be very rewarding. But if done wrong, it is just a waste of time. If you already have a customer loyalty program with us, hopefully you learned some helpful tips on getting the most out of your program. If you are interested in setting up a loyalty program for your business, or would like some more information, please give us a call at 952-224-8000.

Why You Need a Responsive Site

The internet has been around for a while now.  People can sit and argue about when the “modern” internet really took shape but it’s safe to say that it was in the mid to late nineties when it really started to take off and evolve into the ever-changing entity that it has become today. Back then, websites were relatively simple, designed using now antiquated techniques and methodologies to be viewed on the clunky CRT monitors that were sitting on our desks at the time.  Since then, the world has come to embrace the advent of mobile computing, primarily in the form of cell phones, tablets and their offspring, the “phablet”.
Say it out loud, it’s kind of fun. Phablet.

Times are changing.

A recent report stated that, as of May 2014, upwards of 60% of all time spent by users on the internet was on a mobile device. As we all know, mobile devices have screen sizes that range from manageable to have-fun-fitting-it-in-your-pocket which, combined with the above statistic, presents  the following dilemma for any business with a web presence: how do we deliver our site to all of these various devices while maintaining a good user experience? Ever been to a site that wasn’t optimized for the web? You’ll know it when you see it, or rather squint at it because the entire website is displayed at once on that small screen.  Sure, you can pinch, poke or swipe your way to a zoomed in view but then you will have to reposition the site to read content that is off the screen, all the while trying not to accidently click a link in the process.

The Bandage.

Companies started to somewhat solve the mobile dilemma by offering a mobile version of their site, usually denoted as m.yourewebsitehere.com.  The issue with .m sites is that they’re separate from your main site, which means double the development time as well as the fact that all of your hard earned SEO success will not apply to both.

The Solution.

So is there a solution that solves the mobile dilemma while avoiding big drawbacks? The answer is a big yes, in the form of responsive design.  The basic premise of a website built with responsive design is that it will adapt to whatever size screen you’re viewing it on, layouts will shift and various elements will resize but the overall user experience will remain the same.

Bah!

You may be thinking “my website is doing just fine without being responsive”. The problem with that line of thought is that you need to add “for now” to the end of it. More and more, users are turning to mobile as their first choice for gaining information, particularly those in their 20’s or younger and if they end up on your unreadable site, chances are they’re going to go to your competitors site, which is responsive and highly usable. Guess who is going to get the business?

Customers first

So, for the sake of your business, take the plunge and upgrade to responsive, your customers will appreciate it and best of all, they’ll tell others.

 

 

Get In Their Brains

customer-feedback.133103555

 

How do you get inside the brain of an average customer? Give them the chance to provide feedback of course. If you don’t give a person the chance to provide an opinion, how will you know what needs to be done in your company? It is simple. One person can’t successfully grow a business. It takes many people to provide different aspects of the puzzle. A person once said, “Two are better than one.” Two masterminds are better than one. What the heck, even three are better than two. This same principle can be applied to your customers. How else will you know what they are thinking about your business?

A customer holds all the key pieces to what it takes to build a loyal base of fans. They are the eyes, ears, and mouth of a business. They know what could be changed about the product, they know what they like, and they know what could use some improvement in the experience. It is always important to utilize surveys, emails and social media to get a feel for what they are thinking. The number one thing is to get them to feel connected to your company. There is no better way to make sure your customer’s experience is top notch.

There are many things you can do to make sure you are hearing all thoughts and opinions. Provide your customers with an incentive to write a review. We all know that word travels fast, whether it is bad or good. There are emails and surveys dedicated to getting the most information you can gather about your services. If you have a call center, have your employees ask questions. “How was your experience with (so and so company) today?” “If you could change one thing about (so and so company), what would it be?” This way it comes straight from the customer’s mouth. Often times, this can be the best way to get feedback. If you want to grow your company, make sure you are asking questions. After all, the customer is what makes your business. Without them, there would be no growth. Have you gotten a handle on what they are thinking?

 

Why you need to focus on your “Why Buy”

As most of you may be aware, the automotive buying behavior is changing and it is critical to make sure you stand out from your competition. According to Google’s research study, the average consumer has 24 research touch points prior to buying a vehicle, while only visiting 1.4 dealerships before making a purchase decision. Nate Sieveking discusses these changes and why it is critical to separate your dealership from the pack. True automotive customer loyalty begins by offering customers real value that the competition cannot match. re:member group helps dealers truly differentiate themselves from the competition, give customers relevant and compelling reasons to choose your dealership and close more deals at a higher gross.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7QdClSp3sc&w=560&h=315]

Visit our website or call us at 866-414-CLUB to make your dealership stand out by adding value.

Creating Customers For Life

Focusing on customer retention is one of the most rapidly growing trends in the automotive industry. Manufacturers are driving retention, and with good reason. Newly appointed GM CEO, Mary Barra shared her thoughts in a 2012 statement, “We believe a single percentage point improvement in sales retention is about 25,000 vehicles or about $700 million annually, so it’s a pretty big financial incentive.” A single percentage point!

While retention to an automotive brand is all well and good, I can still buy that same vehicle from any number of area dealers. The same holds even more true in fixed ops. Not only are we competing for that customer’s service business with other dealerships, we are fighting the independent shops as well as the quick-lube/tire/brakes shops.

What sets your dealership apart? The answer we hear time and time again: we’ve got the best people/parts/products. The best sales/service/selection. The truth may very well be that you do, but your competition is saying the exact same thing. And it is falling on deaf ears. You’re dealing with a more informed consumer than ever before. At the click of a mouse they can learn everything about your dealership, your special offers, what people think about you. They can do the same for your competition.

So how do we attract, create and keep a customer that is loyal to your dealership? The first step is truly separating yourself from the other guys. What are you offering the customer that the competition can’t? We need to stop talking about price and start talking about value. How are you making your customer’s life better? What are you providing that makes it worth choosing your dealership every time?

Think about the last flight you took. The last hotel you stayed in. The credit card you used to pay for those. Did you earn points? Do these multi-billion dollar industries offer a rewards program simply because it’s cute? Come on – these are banks! The truth is that a loyalty initiative is one of the most effective tools available to drive more business, more often.  In today’s economy, a customer is expecting their dollar to go further and are willing to go to great lengths to continue doing business with an organization that rewards them for their loyalty. How far will they go? Rockwell Clancy, VP of Financial Services at J.D. Power and Associates had this to say – “Consumers will often pay higher prices, or stick with a service that’s unsatisfying, simply because they’ve started earning points.”

What does this look like in the auto dealer world? The Walser Automotive Group in Minneapolis, MN, together with the re:member group, created the Walser Rewards program to attract and keep their most profitable customers. It couldn’t be easier to play. Members enroll for free, simply by providing an email address. Once enrolled, 10% of customer pay service work goes into a bank account that they can redeem toward their next vehicle purchase. The results have been amazing – Walser found that Members of their program service more often and spend 40% more in service than non-Members. This resulted in a boost of $4.6 Million in additional service revenue in a 2011 study and it continues to grow every year. Better still – since these points are redeemable only toward a vehicle purchase, Walser is on target to sell over 1,000 vehicles in 2013 from points redemptions. This holistic approach to customer loyalty has helped Walser attract and keep loyal, profitable customers in both service and sales, all while delighting the customer.

Customers that are truly loyal to your dealership are going to do 4 very important things that have a big impact to your bottom line. 1) They visit your dealership more often – not just for the major repairs, but for all repairs. 2) They spend more. A loyal customer is less price-sensitive and more likely to agree to recommended services. 3) They give great feedback. You’ll learn powerful insights from your customers and see strong online reviews – thereby attracting more customers. 4) They refer their friends and family. There is no greater form of advertising than a personal recommendation from a happy customer.

A customer becomes loyal when you present a value that the competition can’t match. When you exceed a customer’s expectations – not simply by satisfying them.

Nate Sieveking is president of the re:member group, the auto industry leader in customized loyalty solutions (www.remembergroup.com). You can email him at nate@remembergroup.com.

It’s Wedding Season! (aka It’s Loyalty Season)

wedding

I am in that time in my life where it seems like every summer I have at least 5 weddings to attend.  Don’t get me wrong, they are fun, but they pile up and get very expensive.  Being in the wedding is even worse, there are bachelor/ette parties, couple showers, wedding showers, rehearsal dinners, brunches, pictures, and the list goes on and on.

Now, while some wedding events are free, there is still a hefty price tag for the wedding gift and the wedding itself.  So why do we pay so much for such events?  Your answer: Loyalty. Can marketers take any hints from this?  Maybe not, but I’m sure gonna try.

1.    Weddings are the ultimate showing of loyalty: I’m not going to go into the roots and meanings of marriage, but it is the ultimate showing of loyalty between 2 people. Outsiders want to be a part of it, and have no problem supporting the cause emotionally and monetarily. Families choose to spend a year’s salary for a one night party signifying a lifetime of happiness. Make your product omit the sense of a lifetime of happiness, and your customers will spend money for that kind of party. Catch my drift?

2.    Get a cause people can believe in – weather it is points, discounts, rewards or anything alike, customers (and companies) must BELIEVE in what they are doing in order to be effective.  Customers don’t want to be a part of something that is seen as an afterthought or merely a background gimmick. It has to be real, and people have to feel the love coming from your company and employees.

3.    People by stuff for people they like – this is Business 101. If you are friendly, respectful, and passionate, about your company and/or product- people are more likely to buy from you. Same goes for customer service. It is a known fact that people will shell out extra cash if they like and trust the person they are buying from. Show the people some love!

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