By Kathi Kruse
There‚Äôs no deny¬≠ing the influ¬≠ence Social Media has had on how we com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠cate.
With the ease of our com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ca¬≠tion, cus¬≠tomer loy¬≠al¬≠ty has become a hot top¬≠ic. Although, it seems to some¬≠times get lost in the dai¬≠ly oper¬≠a¬≠tions of a busi¬≠ness. Many busi¬≠ness¬≠es don‚Äôt focus on their cur¬≠rent cus¬≠tomer until the cus¬≠tomer complains‚Ä¶.or you‚Äôve had a bad month. Then, your sales staff starts look¬≠ing deep¬≠er into the rela¬≠tion¬≠ships they have with cus¬≠tomers and real¬≠ize they don‚Äôt have much to fall back on. How¬≠ev¬≠er, it‚Äôs nev¬≠er too late to start.
As the say¬≠ing goes, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a lot cheap¬≠er to keep a cus¬≠tomer than to acquire a new one.‚ÄĚ The cap¬≠i¬≠tal you earn with your cus¬≠tomer is in the appre¬≠ci¬≠a¬≠tion and rela¬≠tion¬≠ship-build¬≠ing. That hap¬≠pens long before the pur¬≠chase and in today‚Äôs open and con¬≠nect¬≠ed world, it‚Äôs a must-do if you want to com¬≠pete.
Recent data from R.L. Polk & Co states that the longer an own¬≠er keeps a vehi¬≠cle, the more like¬≠ly they are to replace it with a prod¬≠uct from a com¬≠pet¬≠ing brand. Yikes, that is not good news! The decline in loy¬≠al¬≠ty, though grad¬≠ual with each pass¬≠ing year, means that many automak¬≠ers and deal¬≠ers will need to work hard¬≠er to retain cus¬≠tomers.
Social Media allows you the plat¬≠form, the tech¬≠nol¬≠o¬≠gy, to pro¬≠vide a home for that com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty. It‚Äôs up to you to fos¬≠ter it. At one time or anoth¬≠er in our lives, we‚Äôve all been part of an awe¬≠some com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty. Whether it was a base¬≠ball team in high school, a soror¬≠i¬≠ty in col¬≠lege, or maybe even just a reg¬≠u¬≠lar golf game. We crave that sense of con¬≠nect¬≠ed¬≠ness and if your store can pro¬≠vide a place to gath¬≠er, boom, you win!
It starts with mak¬≠ing the cul¬≠tur¬≠al and orga¬≠ni¬≠za¬≠tion¬≠al changes need¬≠ed to estab¬≠lish loy¬≠al¬≠ty as the cen¬≠ter¬≠piece to your long-term suc¬≠cess. It‚Äôs not about view¬≠ing the cus¬≠tomer from a ‚Äúhow much mon¬≠ey have they spent with us‚ÄĚ men¬≠tal¬≠i¬≠ty but from a holis¬≠tic per¬≠spec¬≠tive cen¬≠tered on ‚Äúhow well we align with the expe¬≠ri¬≠ence the cus¬≠tomer val¬≠ues and expects‚ÄĚ.
Next, insti¬≠tute ways in which you can attract your repeat cus¬≠tomers to your online com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty. Here are a few tips to get you start¬≠ed:
‚ÄĘ Noti¬≠fy them in every way pos¬≠si¬≠ble.
‚ÄĘ Active¬≠ly search for and pro¬≠vide ways to reward loy¬≠al¬≠ty.
‚ÄĘ Get your staff on board and include them in your com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty.
‚ÄĘ Cre¬≠ate a Face¬≠book Page for an ‚ÄúOwner‚Äôs Club‚ÄĚ and offer attrac¬≠tive loy¬≠al¬≠ty dis¬≠counts.
‚ÄĘ Hold events like Ser¬≠vice Clin¬≠ics where your cus¬≠tomer gets up close and per¬≠son¬≠al with their favorite tech¬≠ni¬≠cian. (Don‚Äôt for¬≠get to take pic¬≠tures and videos!)
‚ÄĘ If you‚Äôre the own¬≠er or GM (or any oth¬≠er man¬≠ag¬≠er), spend time inter¬≠act¬≠ing with the group, it‚Äôs ‚Äúexclu¬≠sive‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄĘ Make peo¬≠ple feel like they‚Äôre part of some¬≠thing big¬≠ger.
Social Media gives you a huge oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ty to retain cus¬≠tomers and define the dif¬≠fer¬≠ence between you and the guy down the street. Take advan¬≠tage of it now, before your com¬≠peti¬≠tor fig¬≠ures out how to do it.