Building a ‘VIP’ Customer Loyalty Program

Customer loyalty is vital in the automotive industry, but many businesses underestimate the importance of recognizing the value of these customers. Loyalty usually starts with the auto manufacturer – (we all know at least one diehard Ford, Chevy, or Dodge driver!), but what about the customers loyal to your dealership? Some are loyal because of the relationship they have with their salesperson or technician, and others prefer to support their local businesses. No matter the reason, loyal customers are rewarding you with their continued and repeat business. If you’re not already rewarding their loyalty, perhaps it’s time to start.

 

Develop a Strategy
It’s important to identify loyal customers in a tangible way. One way to accomplish this is by using VIP cards, which can be mag-strip or barcode style, utilizing your point of sale system to track customer points, services and data. The style of card you choose can vary, but one style that has seen great success in almost every industry is a combination wallet and key chain card set. This helps ensure your customer always has their rewards card with them when they visit.

Levels of Loyalty
Using a variety of card designs can help signify “gold” status customers from “bronze” status customers. No matter the terms you use to delegate status to a customer, the title should match the perks. For example, a gold status customer might always be guaranteed a loaner vehicle when they bring their vehicle in for repair, or they may always receive a 5% discount on certain services.

Rack Up Points 
Another element to a great rewards program is points and what those points garner. There are a number of methods to approach this aspect of the loyalty program and you can employ more than one method simultaneously. For example, a certain number of points may signify a dollar amount that can be used as coupon value towards the purchase of services or goods. You can also have small gifts attached to certain points levels, for instance, when your customer reaches 2,500 points, they receive a trunk organizer (branded with your dealership’s logo of course) or 10,000 may be good for a basic detailing service. One of the most popular and effective rewards points valuing structures is a percentage approach. For every dollar a customer spends they receive 1% points value. This is a common value for rewards in all industries and tends to work well.

Create a Valuable Partnership 
Partnering with another business, like a car wash or gas station, adds even more value to your customers and helps bolster a “shop local” mentality. A ‘3¢ off per gallon’ or ‘$1 off car wash’ program can go a long way towards building customer loyalty as well as great local partnerships.

Remember the Little Things
Celebrate customer purchase anniversaries and birthdays. Sending them a small gift like a key chain or tire gauge on the anniversary of purchasing their vehicle or on their birthday is a small gesture that makes a big impact in showing your customer that you value them.

There are many different types of loyalty programs to choose from and customers have come to expect rewards for their continued business. American Solutions for Business has the products and ideas you need to develop a successful, comprehensive loyalty program for your dealership. Contact your ASB representative today to learn more. Don’t have one? Click here to find your local rep!

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