In building customer loyalty, one of the first things that comes to mind is the customer experience. Many businesses focus on the overall experience and end up missing small things which detract from the customer experience and can even drive people away. Perhaps the bathroom was dirty, or the water cooler was empty. Or it could be something at the dealership which is not quite as obvious – such as emails.
What? How can an email drive a customer away?
The obvious way is by bombarding customers with irrelevant e-mails, or, what is now referred to as spam. However, this isn’t a blog about spamming customers.
Let’s assume your dealership is sending out relevant emails, at appropriate times, via your CRM. Perhaps it’s time for the customer to service their vehicle, or the customer is a new prospect you are reaching out to for the first time. While there is typically a process set up in the CRM for these type of communications, it can be perilous to fail to pay attention to what’s happening in the virtual engagement between your dealership and the customer.
An article on Business2Community explains that in email communications, simple things can detract from that communication and even turn the customer off. The article shares things that should be avoided in any email communication, as follows:
- Spelling, grammar and language mistakes.
- Emails that contained sensitive information.
- Emails that don’t visually look like a brand’s website.
- Emails that take too long to arrive in the inbox.
- Emails that reach the SPAM box, rather than the inbox.
- Emails that get categorized as a ‘promotion.’
Remember that how your email LOOKS is almost as important as what it SAYS. It’s not uncommon to find spelling, grammar and language mistakes in dealership templates. Those mistakes are then going out to every customer targeted for that message, making the dealership appear unprofessional to its customers. In addition, if the email design is completely different to the look and feel of the dealership’s website, that can cause a disconnect in the minds of the customer. It then either ends up ignored completely, or is not at all memorable.
When communicating with a customer in real-time, time also comes into play. The customer is waiting for an answer to a question – perhaps, “What price can I get,” or, “Is my vehicle ready yet?” The longer it takes to receive an answer, the less pleased they will be with the dealership experience.
Of course, the final hiccup is one that no dealership wants – namely, communications that go into the consumer’s SPAM mailbox. The instant you hear that customers are receiving your emails in SPAM, a red flag should rise. Actions should immediately be taken with your email provider to resolve this issue, as it could very easily cost revenue via a lost sale.
It is important to not just sit back and trust that your communication tools are working properly. Regularly inspect to ensure they are. An easy way to keep up with how your communication tools are working is to input yourself into the CRM as a customer. Then let the processes happen just as they would for any customer. When those emails arrive, inspect them for any of the issues mentioned above.
Don’t just sit back and rely on technology. Small interactional mistakes can create big problems when it comes to retention, loyalty and revenue. When analyzing the overall experience to improve it, make sure you’re not blind to the small things. Each piece of the puzzle needs to be in place before examining the result. Then you can truly know if you have a completed puzzle, or if a piece is out of place.
Author: Michael Gorun
Michael Gorun is founder of Performance Loyalty Group, a technology-based owner retention and loyalty company. He has more than 25 years in operational service management positions for Ford, Nissan and General Motors. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.