Customer loyalty is increasingly difficult to earn. Consumers simply aren’t as loyal to a specific store as they were in the past.
Years ago, perhaps you’d visit that local hardware store owned by Bill and Martha. Each time you visited they welcomed you by name and offered their assistance. In our current age of mega-stores, the customer experience is not the same. There’s no longer a Bill and Martha waiting to greet you. Nor, in most cases, do the staff know your name.
So, these days, the mega-stores and Internet retailers create and maintain customers through convenience. Just this past week, Amazon announced 2-hour delivery from Wholefoods for Prime customers. Most grocery stores already offer customers the ability to order online. The customer then simply shows up at the store where an associate loads the items into their vehicle. Amazon says… “meh… we’ll bring them to you!”
Banks now offer consumers the ability to deposit checks via a mobile app. Starbucks allows you to order your coffee in advance through their app. You can simply pick it up when you arrive, skipping to the front of the line.
The point is that retailers are conditioning consumers to expect convenience and, if the rest of the experience is good, consumers flock to use these services and continue to return.
How convenient is your dealership?
In the future, convenience will be the top priority for customer loyalty and retention. Our society has developed to a point where consumers are no longer Wowed by the convenient services offered by major retailers; they expect and demand them.
The more convenient your dealership makes all customer interactions, the more likely those customers will continue to come back. With the future of retail sales predicted to slow, and service revenue predicted to be increasingly important, now is the time to investigate how to streamline every process and touchpoint for your customers.
However, keep in mind that you can be convenient and still lose customers if the overall experience is poor. For example, what if you went online, ordered your groceries, drove to the store, had the associate load up your vehicle then drove home. So far so good, right?
Well, what if when you got home you discovered some of the items you ordered and paid for were missing. Now what? You are forced to return to the store to find a manager and get those items. At this point, you’ve made two trips to the store and probably spent more time than if you just went to the store and shopped there, rather than ordering online. Suddenly, the convenience factor disappears. You may still like the idea of buying your groceries online, but you might just be tempted to try out a different grocery store next time.
Time is money and it’s increasingly factored into the consumer’s transactional decisions. Frequently, consumers choose to spend a little more money for a more convenient experience. It’s no longer all about “lowest price,” but more about “most convenient.”
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.