In today’s competitive automotive marketplace, customer retention is more important than it’s ever been. Yet, we still hear many auto dealers focusing solely on acquiring new customers. Whereas, when you build an automotive loyalty program, you can get more value out of your current customers too. We believe the best way to encourage customer retention at your dealership, is to create a customer loyalty program.

Why is customer retention so important?

It’s not just a fluffy business term. Did you know that It can cost a dealership up to 7x more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a customer it already has? It just makes sense to put more emphasis on retention.

To clarify, it’s also not just the vehicle sales that you should seek to retain. One of the most helpful areas to use a loyalty program in your car dealership is in your service department.

Service department sales can improve when you implement an automotive loyalty program.

A survey by Loyalty One found that only 55 per cent of vehicle owners go to their dealership for non-warranty service and maintenance! Imagine if your dealership could retain just a little more of that lost revenue potential?

According to ICDP, selling a service package with a car leads to a 50 per cent higher retained margin over the customer lifetime.

Performance Loyalty Group found that loyalty program members will visit a dealership’s service department almost twice as often. Plus, they spend twice as much as those who are not members of the loyalty program. To be specific, the numbers showed $662.01 per year for program members and $336.63 for non-members. That’s quite a big difference!

When you give a service customer an incentive for keeping the work in-house, you make their decision easier. Many people trust their dealership more than third-party service stations. If you encourage them to keep their service work at your dealership, it’s a win-win for all.

Studies show that 50 per cent of loyalty program members are willing to pay more for convenience. While only 36 per cent of consumers who do not participate in a loyalty program feel the same way.

Winning the preference of where they service their vehicle is just one of the ways a dealership can retain their customers. Another huge benefit in customer retention is in the increased customer lifetime value.

Focus on your customer lifetime value.

Shopify defines customer lifetime value (CLV), as the total amount of money a customer is expected to spend in your business, or on your products, during their lifetime.

Customer retention results in increased customer lifetime value and results in higher profits.

Bain & Co reported that businesses can grow their profits by nearly 100 per cent by retaining just 5 per cent more of their customers. Undeniable proof that a customer loyalty program can be your dealership’s best weapon.

A better experience builds trust.

When you can improve a customer’s experience, it increases their trust. When you give them something back for their loyalty it shows them that they are valued and improves the relationship even more.

With an automotive loyalty program, it could not only mean your customers coming back to you for each new sale or lease. It could also mean that they keep their service and maintenance in-house — plus, choosing dealership financing.

Not only is retention a key area to focus on. We believe that retention could be even more important than new customer acquisition. According to the Gartner Group, 80 per cent of your future profits will come from just 20 per cent of your existing customers.

The cost of new customer acquisition is high.

And, we aren’t saying don’t seek to acquire new customers. Just know that 80% of your future profits will come from just 20% of your existing customers.

Cost is another big factor when deciding where to place emphasis. Kissmetrics reports that it costs a dealership up to 7x more to gain a new customer than it does to keep a present customer.

If all these reasons aren’t enough, loyal customers are also more likely to refer new customers. Loyalty programs really do impact value at all stages of the customer journey.

Our automotive Partners drive results through the AIR MILES® Reward Program.

Here are just a few of the ways that the AIR MILES Reward Program has affected the bottom line of our automotive Partners:

– 23% more sales coming from test drive offers
– 15% more vehicles sold than prior years
– 39% more service department transactions
– 62% of new car buyers chose dealership financing
– 200% reduction in time spent on the lot

Our automotive dealership Partners are using the AIR MILES Reward Program to drive their own business goals.

Some of the Offers we see within the auto industry are:
– 100 AIR MILES Reward Miles for trade-Ins
– 250 Miles on new and used vehicle sales
– 250 Miles on defined F&I packages
– 1 Mile for every $20 spent in parts & service

Our partners also have the flexibility to drive results with limited time bonus offers. Here are just a few of the possibilities:

– Maintenance Mondays – reduce lost hours in bays, increase spend
– Win back – retain sales customers in service
– Model clear out
– Private sale events
– 25 Miles for test drives
– Contests

If you’d like to learn more about improving your own customer retention through an automotive loyalty program, drop us a note. Our team of loyalty experts can help your dealership drive the results you need.