Millennials are arguably the most valuable consumers you could ever hope to do business with. They’re part of the largest generation in the United States, and by 2017 they’ll be spending $200 billion dollars annually, Forbes predicts.
If you want to claim some of that cash, it’s critical that both your marketing efforts and your in-person service appeal to millennial consumers to keep them coming back. Earn their loyalty and you earn their lifetime spend. Here’s what to do to direct your marketing and retention efforts toward your most promising customers, so you can get millennials into your sales and service process — and keep them there.
All your customers — millennials in particular — see hundreds if not thousands of ads every day. Yours are going to have a hard time standing out from the crowd if they’re not relevant to your customers or they don’t address each customer’s individual needs. Don’t rely on a shotgun-style ad strategy, especially when it comes to digital ads. Instead, use data-driven targeting to ensure you’re always issuing ads your customers actually want to see. There’s no better way to break through the noise.
Millennials are nothing if not tech-savvy. They’re leading the digital revolution, and they were the first to fully embrace smartphones. This generation lives in the mobile world, and they expect your business to cater to that preference. Your marketing efforts should prioritize mobile messages and communication, all available on the platform your millennial consumers use most — their smartphones.
Every person in your millennial customers’ lives is always just a finger tap away — and businesses should be just as available. If you want to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds, it’s critical to stay constantly connected with them through their mobile devices. The easiest way to stay constantly connected is through a mobile app. It could be an app that lists your inventory and makes it easy to find the car a prospective customer is looking for, or an app that delivers inspection results and streamlines the service recommendation process. Apps appeal to your millennial customers’ communication preferences, and holds their attention.
Most customers, especially millenials, prefer a technology-powered dealership experience. According to a 2015 J.D. Power study, dealerships that use tablets as part of their sales and F&I processes achieved greater customer satisfaction than their paper-based counterparts.
There’s no end of opportunities to implement mobile technology tools throughout your dealership. The service drive, the waiting area, the sales floor — all can use tablet-driven technology to keep mobile tools easily available to your customers throughout the sales or service process. Because millennial customers also tend to trust words they read on a screen more than a real person standing in front of them, mobile tools also lend you increased credibility, and make your customers feel empowered to make their own decisions.
Millennials have grown up in the world of big data. They expect businesses to know what they want and need before they do, and to give them tools they can use to enhance their everyday lives. If you want to stay your millennial customers’ preferred dealership for both their sales and service needs, make an effort to deliver a hyper-personalized customer experience. You can’t offer personalized service unless you know who your customers are and what they need. A marketing platform that segments your customers and draws information from data you already have is invaluable in keeping track of who your most lucrative customers are, and what they need at any given moment.
Tools such as an online appointment system are quickly becoming standard for all dealerships and auto retailers. An appointment system that can recognize your customers — whether or not they have created an account — will, however, leave a much better impression on millennial motorists. Your online appointment system should know who your customers are based on only one or two pieces of information — such as an email address or a VIN number. From there, scheduling an appointment takes only a couple of clicks, meaning less information for your customers to remember, and a better experience before they’ve even set foot in your shop.
Another key area for personalized service is the service drive. When your customers arrive, you shouldn’t have to ask them who they are and what they’re there for. Using tablet-based technology, your service advisors can greet every customer by name as they pull up to the drive.
The tablets your advisors use can also tell them the customer’s service history, their appointment information, previously declined service recommendations, as well as any applicable recalls — all of which advisors can easily add to the write-up. The greeting process should be more than just a “hello.” In the coming years, how well you attract and retain millennial consumers is going to define your success. Soon, technology and mobile tools will not just be nice options — they will be essential for any dealership that wants to keep up with the competition. If you want to start getting millennials into your shop now, it’s time to stay ahead of the curve.
Mike Martinez, chief marketing officer, leads the global marketing, product management, and strategy and analytics efforts for AutoPoint, a Solera Holdings company. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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