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What is your defense for keeping customers?

Feb 12 2016

Everybody wants to increase car counts right?

What is your defense for keeping customers?  Are you constantly relying on your offense (prospecting for new customers) to keep yourself in the game?  Offense costs a lot more than defense – about 6 times as much.

Let’s build around the backbone on which your shop operates – service.

The Customer Retention Defense starts in the trenches with Service Reminders.

That building block often overlooked by too many marketing plans – reminding customers they need to have their vehicle serviced when it actually needs to be serviced. Getting them in the habit of visiting your shop for service.

We are talking base defense here - not special teams such as Declined Services. Keeping it simple allows for multi-channel utilization to cover as many customers as possible.  Our defensive strategy is “Need + Reminder + Service = Positive Outcome”.

Depending on the customer and what type of relationship you have with them (new, fringe, steady, best or lapsed) then you can deploy the proper Customer Retention Defense.

Keeping it fresh by throwing different looks at them (Rewards, Reviews, Special Promotions) helps to keep them from too many contacts of the same type. We do not want them slipping into attrition because of so many contacts just leaving them with the feeling, “all they want is my money”. 

We are striving for – “They care about my vehicle and how valuable my time and money are”.

Therefore, timely service reminders become a cost effective marketing tool. The more customers who trust you to remind them of their service needs, the higher your car counts will be.

We are trying to form the habit of them associating car care needs with your shop!  Just like championship defenses – focused, consistent and everybody on the same page doing their job.

We can debate channel formations: direct mail, email or a hybrid of both. Eliminating ones that are not personalized - mass mailings, spot ads on the radio etc. (these are offensive “formations”).

We will toss out any mass marketing for Service Reminders as they are not personalized – no we are not talking about using their name but addressing THEIR vehicle at time of need.

Offense is geared at marketing the services you perform and your brand recognition. Tuned more to general prospecting then personalized service reminders.

Breaking through the noise, the attention deficit barrier etc. starts with something that involves ME and addresses something I need to take care of, cross of a to do list or just get done. You may do the work for the customer but it is the customer who decides if it gets done at all. 

We are talking about Tires, LOF, Brakes, Alignments, Cooling System, Manufacturer Recommended Services, Fluid Flushes, Engine Diagnostics, Inspection Recommendations, Thank You and identifying early lapsed customers.

All focusing on keeping the customer at your location.


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