The standing modus operandi at Rallye Motors has been to find ways to successfully sync technologies with our everyday processes. The ability to take on new tools and apply them in ways that drive our business forward has been a key to Rallye’s success, earning it the distinction as one of the leading dealer groups in the U.S. over the last 50 years. In 2013, Rallye and dealers across the country must continue to seek out new, innovative approaches to building and strengthening relationships with customers that result in positive dealership experiences and sales growth. Here are my top four relationship building technologies for 2013:
Customer lifecycle management
As technology becomes a bigger part of the car shopping experience and the dealership’s infrastructure, the importance of establishing and nurturing relationships with customers is paramount. Often, dealerships do a phenomenal job of getting customers to buy, but then drop the ball after the purchase when contact suddenly disappears. The use of a customer lifecycle management system helps Rallye differentiate itself by maintaining an ongoing relationship with customers. Consider the positive impact of a timely thank you phone call, exactly 14 months after delivery of the vehicle. A simple “we appreciate you” is all it takes. The satisfaction customers convey as a result of these calls is tangible and significant, as one friendly conversation can lead to new opportunities and loyalty down the road.
Database mining and alerts
While understanding and communicating with customers is essential, the next step in building lasting relationships and providing great service is the ability to anticipate customer needs. For this we use the database mining and alert tool, AutoAlert. This tool segments our database into sales and service opportunities. It analyzes purchase records to uncover upcoming customer needs and then sets alerts for those needs; for instance, when a customer’s lease contract is up, or when their warranty is set to expire, or when their vehicle is due for regular maintenance. By proactively reaching out to our customers in a timely fashion, we make it convenient for them to continue working with us—we are there to help them when they need it. Of course, these reminders also result in Rallye continuing to move more of our new stock, replenish our pre-owned inventory and increase service loyalty.
From the technical to the conversational, social media has become a channel for our dealership to reach and further develop relationships with customers. Of course, social media is not designed to sell products like our email marketing tools, but it’s a way to increase brand loyalty and stay in front of the customer. Using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram we like to ask customers for specific feedback, initiate discussions, and post interesting facts, vehicle optimization tips and “did you know?” type insights.
On February 8th, representatives of Rallye will attend the 2013 NADA convention with an eye on new technologies, and on vendors that will help us continue to improve our service and enhance relationships with our customers throughout the duration of their loyalty. This year we are looking specifically for a next generation mobile application that, alongside our Contact At Once! live chat, will allow customers to pay bills online, check the status of their serviced vehicles, and more. Using online chat, customers already have the option of reaching out to us in real-time for resolutions. A self-service app that can automate certain reoccurring activities and that gives customers the ability to take immediate action on their own will not only increase their satisfaction, but also allow us to better allocate resources toward further improving our service.
Shaun Weissman serves as manager of business development and internet sales for Rallye Auto Group, where he has worked for the past 10 years. An avid educator and writer, Shaun has presented on BDC development and digital management at conferences such as the Eastern Region BMW management team, National BMW Aftersales Conference, Driving Sales Executive Summit, and most recently, Jim Ziegeler’s Internet Battle Plan.