Auto/Mate Dealership Systems announced today that results from its Spring survey reveal that more than half of auto dealers have customer loyalty or rewards programs in their dealerships, and another 20 percent have plans to implement one soon or are “thinking about it.” Additionally the dealers weighed in on what they believe are the top factors that contribute towards building a loyal customer base.
“The vast majority (85%) of auto dealers believe that providing good customer service is the key to customer loyalty, but in my opinion the survey results reveal a lack of understanding as to how that excellence in customer service is achieved,” said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate.
Esposito cites that customer service training can only go so far, and that focusing on creating a great place to work and keeping employees happy is the most important factor in creating a loyal customer base. “Employees are the front-line of your brand; they are responsible for all customer transactions. Employees have to love your company before they love your customers,” he said. Yet, just over a third of survey respondents chose “Ensuring that our employees are happy and enjoy their jobs” as a top contributing factor for customer loyalty.
Auto/Mate’s spring survey was conducted in March and April and received more than 120 responses, the majority of which came from dealership principals and managers. The survey asked the following two customer loyalty related questions:
1) Do you have a customer loyalty or rewards program for your customers?
Yes – 54%
No – 26%
Thinking About It – 14%
We plan to implement very soon – 5%
2) What three factors do you believe contribute the most towards building customer loyalty?
Ensuring our employees give good customer service – 85%
Offer service discounts & coupons competitive with local repair shops – 55%
Keeping website content updated & useful – 38%
Ensuring that our employees are happy & enjoy their jobs – 36%
Good reputation management program – 30%
Marketing/salespeople outreach – 26%
Customer loyalty/points program – 22%
Offer the lowest price – 17%
Good social media program – 11%
Customer loyalty isn’t very important – 0%
According to a 2013 Forrester Research report, 70 percent of executives said that customer retention was the number one goal for their customer loyalty programs. The study also found that while nearly half of customers do enroll in loyalty programs that are offered, just over a third of those customers redeem rewards, which means that only 16 percent of all customers take advantage of such programs. The research also suggests that the key to customer loyalty is the ability to keep customers engaged.
Auto/Mate has one of the highest customer retention rates in the retail automotive industry and has enjoyed an average 20% growth rate for the last five years. Auto/Mate won the “Highest Rated” Driving Sales Dealer Satisfaction Award in the DMS category for both 2012 and 2013. Esposito attributes Auto/Mate’s success to its employees and has studied and implemented the principles of what makes a great place to work. As a result, Auto/Mate has been voted a “Best Place to Work” four years running by the Albany Business Review, and has also received a “Top Workplace” award from The Times Union and WorkplaceDynamics for three consecutive years.
Esposito is available to present a seminar titled “A Better Way to Customer Loyalty: Focus on Employees First, Customers Second,” to state auto dealer associations and to 20 Groups. To book Esposito at your event, please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org
Auto/Mate Dealership Systems is a leading provider of dealership management system (DMS) software to retail automotive dealerships. Its Automotive Management Productivity Suite (AMPS) is a user-friendly, feature-rich DMS in use by more than 1,000 auto dealers nationwide. Auto/Mate received the “Highest Rated DMS of 2012″ and the “Highest Rated DMS of 2013” awards in the annual Driving Sales Dealer Satisfaction Awards.
Auto/Mate’s employees have more than 850 years of combined experience working in auto dealerships – the foundation of its “Designed By Car People For Car PeopleTM” slogan. For more information visit our website, follow us on Twitter @AutoMateDMS and subscribe to our blog at http://blog.automate.com