5 Consumer Loyalty Trends Auto Dealerships Should Know

Consumers aren’t easy to win over, and customer retention has never been more crucial to sustaining a business than it is today.

If you haven’t already noticed, Americans have a huge trust issue with brands lately. According to the 2018 Edelman Trust Berometer, consumers are at an all-time low when it comes to trusting U.S. institutions.

To support that notion, a recent study showed that 37% of consumers say it takes at least five purchases for them to even start to feel loyal to a brand (1).

With so many interactions needed to establish loyalty, it’s essential that dealerships have full clarity on how to approach every stage of a customer’s journey. These days, it’s simply not enough to just sell and provide services – dealerships have to go above and beyond to offer value and quality that will establish a lasting relationship with customers.

So, how do they do it? Consumer expectations are constantly changing, but there are some specific trends in loyalty dealerships can look out for.

  1. Omni-channel Experience

An omni-channel experience is how a business connects with consumers across multiple platforms. From a phone call to an email to a social media message to in-person communication, consumers want to feel a fluid experience from every touchpoint.

Studies show that companies who have an omni-channel experience retain consumers on average 89% compared to businesses who don’t at 33% (2).

To create an omni-channel experience, dealerships must invest into tools and technologies to integrate all of their communication channels. Leverage automation to provide immediate responses online, and ensure that your digital communication can smoothly transition into offline interactions.

  1. Transparency

Establishing trust is one of the key foundations to building brand loyalty, and being transparent is one of the best ways to do so.

A study by Label Insight shows that 94% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.

To achieve this, dealerships should aim to keep an open line of communication through all stages of a customer’s interaction and try to establish a genuine connection. That can mean being readily available to answer questions or going above and beyond to explain processes.

Dealerships should be transparent in their digital presence as well. Establishing a strong social media presence and responding to comments or online review sites can play a pivotal role in how a customer feels about their business.

  1. Convenience

Consumers are busier than ever, so the demand for convenience will continue to drive business loyalty.

Eliminating time consuming or mundane inconveniences can provide balance to more important areas in a consumer’s life. With 27% of consumers wishing products made their life easier (3), they will be more inclined to turn to businesses that free up their time.

Dealerships will need to be innovative in how they approach customer convenience. Tasks like shopping, purchasing, appointment setting, transportation services, and communication methods will all need to be factored in when creating a pain free customer experience.

  1. Personalization

Investing into a personalized customer experience can help shape a business’s credibility. Consumers crave authenticity, so businesses will need to use personalized touches to add more value into their buying experience.

According to a study from thinkJar, the investment is worth it – 55% of consumers are willing to pay more money if they know they will receive a better customer experience.

Dealerships can use personal communication methods – such as Facebook messenger, push notifications, and text – to relay messages to customers. They can also personalize email marketing to send service recommendations based on prior transactions.

These simple yet effective personalized services improve the overall experience and make them more likely to return.

  1. Technology

One of the biggest players in consumer loyalty trends is staying ahead of technology.

Consumers are sophisticated, and the last thing they want to do is deal with outdated processes and methods. Not only do they want convenience, they want real-time access and meaningful interaction.

Dealerships can stay ahead of digital trends by focusing on innovative ways to leverage technology to create a better customer experience. Taking the time learn about customers’ major pain points and then finding ways technology can alleviate those can set a dealership miles apart from their competition.

Look Towards the Future

Customer loyalty will continue to evolve, but dealerships shouldn’t wait to see what the next big trend will be. By being mindful of their customers’ needs and wants, dealerships can create new opportunities to improve satisfaction and secure lasting relationships with their market.