Transforming your target audience into repeat customers is the ultimate goal for any business. For retail automotive dealerships, this can be a challenging prospect. Dealers across the nation have virtually identical inventories and purchase their new vehicles from the manufacturer at the same price. How does a retail auto dealer even begin to differentiate themselves from the same franchise dealer the next town over (or even those in the next county or state)? Loyalty rewards programs provide the dealer the opportunity to enhance front end sales volume, while retaining customers in the service department, and ultimately branding the dealership as the customer’s source for automotive sales, service, and expertise. Traditionally, auto dealers have offered programs that range from free oil changes or tire rotations to tire replacement benefits. One powerful enhancement to a retention strategy is a Lifetime Powertrain Loyalty Certificate.
"Lifetime Powertrain Loyalty Certificates are a part of a dealer's brand image, and they have a direct impact on customer retention," states Lisle Greenweller, President of Premier Dealer Services, Inc. (PDS). Established in 1998, PDS is a pioneer in the loyalty space and has a created a number of loyalty reward products proven to impact dealer retail sales volume and customer retention. PDS offers a full-spectrum of competitive products, innovative eSolutions tools, and cutting-edge technology along with training and unrivaled administrative support to enhance customer loyalty for automotive dealerships.
According to Lisle, customer loyalty solutions for auto dealers should focus on "ERI": Enhancing the dealer identity, Retaining customers and Increasing new, pre-owned, and product sales volumes. PDS has a wealth of knowledge and experience in all of these areas. For PDS, loyalty certificates are a tangible benefit offered with the vehicle purchase that enhances the customer's ownership experience and promotes the development of a long-term and loyal relationship with the dealership. The company's loyalty benefits are underwritten by an A.M. Best A+ rated insurance company.
Dealers have many options to choose from when structuring their loyalty progams. "Although we offer many solutions, our success is based on creatively structuring programs to meet our clients' needs. Many have taken our base concepts and asked us to adjust them to better fit their desired message and market," says Lisle.
Although we offer many solutions, our success is based on creatively structuring programs to meet our clients' needs
This flexibility gives PDS a unique advantage and provides dealers with a variety of programs to meet their goals.
The loyalty product starts with a link back to the dealership for service. Customers return to the dealership instead of going elsewhere for the services they need to keep their vehicle safe and in proper operating condition. Fulfilling these services at the dealership allows the customer to keep their loyalty benefits in place. Providing these services allows the dealership to build a relationship with the customer increase the likelihood that the customer will return to the dealership for their next vehicle purchase.
PDS also provides training for the entire dealership team. "We target a cultural change throughout the dealership for all employees so each person is focused on communicating to every customer why they should buy here,” says Lisle. Additionally, the company provides eSolutions with videos, "Why Buy Here" laminates, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions. PDS has helped many of its clients add these features to their own websites.
PDS has analyzed the results of its loyalty programs across multiple dealer clients, various franchises, and a broad geographical area.
Case studies performed on PDS customers consistently show remarkable improvements over baseline including:
• Increased new vehicle sales volume,
• Increased pre-owned vehicle sales volume,
• Increased dealer sales profit per vehicle,
• Increased vehicle service contract penetration,
• Increased maintenance product sales,
• Increased daily customer-pay repair orders written, and
• Increased average total repair order.
Going forward, PDS is committed to bringing new innovative and creative solutions that enhance the relationship between dealerships and their customer and generate long term repeat customers.