Customer loyalty can be broken down into two key categories: behavioral loyalty and attitudinal loyalty. Behavioral loyalty refers to your repeat customers. They continuously buy vehicles and service from your dealership over time, out of habit or necessity. Attitudinally loyal customers are more psychologically connected to your brand. These people have a favorable opinion of your dealership. In fact, they feel so strongly about it, they will use positive word-of-mouth recommendations to influence others and drive business straight to your door.
Behavioral loyalty is very important for any dealership’s bottom line. These folks are repeat revenue drivers. They also help dealers keep their marketing costs down, as they are already “hooked” and easier to reach. But what else do you really know about them? Just because they keep coming back does not always mean they have an overall favorable attitude toward your dealership. They may be loyal out of habit, convenience or simply because it’s too much of a hassle to change things up.
The concept of customer loyalty is broad and complex. Simply recording and tracking a customer’s dealership interactions in your CRM does not help you truly understand their opinions or motivators — or how to effectively build your brand. This is where attitudinal loyalty comes into play, and it’s a much “deeper dive.”
Why do these customers keep coming back? What are their experiences and encounters with your employees like? What are their motivations, influencers, perceptions and attitudes toward your dealership in both sales and service?
Obtaining this information can help you develop more relevant, targeted marketing strategies and add more attitudinally loyal customers to your base. This is essential because customers who are attitudinally loyal to your dealership will become your “brand evangelists.” Whether in person, on your Website or on social media, they will sing your praises to everyone they know. This not only helps you increase sales, but it also builds your dealership’s brand.
Simply put, attitudinally loyal customers are far more profitable for your dealership than those who are only behaviorally loyal.
How can you track behavioral loyalty, but also find out how attitudinally loyal those customers really are? Furthermore, how can you keep your already-loyal customers happy, while also enticing those non-attitudinally loyal consumers to become satisfied, devoted “brand evangelists” for your dealership?
The short answer: attitudinal research.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will discuss attitudinal research and how it can increase your profitability.