Part 1 of this series discussed the differences between behavioral loyalty and attitudinal loyalty, and why attitudinally loyal customers are far more beneficial to your dealership or group’s long-term success. If you have not read Part 1, check it out here.
So now that we’ve established the benefits and necessity of attitudinally loyal customers, the question becomes: “How do I get more of them?” The answer we’ll explore here is customer-focused experiential and attitudinal research.
When formulating a strategy for customer-focused experiential and attitudinal research, you need to develop your research approach carefully. Use your existing CRM to reach customers who purchased, as well as prospects who shopped but did not buy from you. With a targeted online questionnaire, focus on questions that will help develop insights regarding key drivers that influence consumer buying behaviors and attitudinal loyalty:
· Ask questions about what initially made customers aware of your dealerships and what ultimately drove them to purchase from you.
· Find out why prospects who purchased somewhere else did not buy from you.
· What types of media do your customers and prospects consume on a regular basis?
· Inquire about their perceptions of your dealership/group’s brand and reputation in the market.
· Find out about their sales and service department experiences. How successful were you at customer service and relationship building after the sale?
· What were their interactions with your employees like?
· What frustrated them most along their journey to purchase a vehicle?
· Inquire about what most impacted their decision-making processes and what could be done better next time.
· Finally, ask if they would recommend your dealership to family and friends — and why or why not.
These insights will help your business become more “customer-centric” by enhancing your internal dealership practices, fostering process improvements, and better defining your dealership’s value propositions. It will boost development of more effective branding and marketing strategies and build better long-term customer relationship models. Most importantly, by doing these things, you will gain more lifelong, attitudinally loyal customers who will become your brand evangelists. These customers will recommend you to everyone they know, thus creating a “snowball effect,” bringing you an avalanche of new customers over time.
For many dealerships, becoming truly customer-centric may require some internal transformation. Building a holistic customer-focused approach requires constant collaboration across all departments in your dealership/group. Breaking down barriers between previously autonomous departments and sharing knowledge and data about your customers’ overall experiences — and how to improve them — are all key components to creating a customer-centric strategy.
Putting the customer first is the only way to guarantee future growth and higher profits.
Consumer experience and loyalty research will help you gain insights to reach more of your ideal target customers with the right branding and creative messages to capture them at crucial points in their customer journey… and entice them to become lifelong devotees to your dealership.