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Automotive Marketing for Retention: How to Utilize a Customer Welcome Kit

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An Important Step in Progressing Your Customer Relationships

Your job is not yet done. The paperwork is signed, sealed and delivered and the satisfied customer — with keys-in-hand — has assumed ownership of the new vehicle. Still, one of your automotive dealership's most critical tasks remains unfulfilled.

Successful customer retention management begins the moment that prospective car-buyer walks through your showroom door, if not earlier in the case of online or phone correspondence. Every interaction is aimed at not only securing the initial vehicle purchase, but also fostering a sense of customer loyalty resulting in future service and car-buying transactions.

Often overlooked or considered an afterthought by dealerships, customer welcome kits represent an important step in progressing your customer relationships from dating to longterm courtship.

 

Importance of Customer Welcome Kits

The name "customer welcome kit" is rather self-explanatory but its value runs deep. In the minds of many vehicle purchasers, taking delivery of a new car serves as the final step in the buying process. Your dealership, of course, knows better and this is why welcome kits come into play.

It's difficult to overstate the importance of customer retention. Its correlation with dealership profitability often proves as clear as the finish on a new car's paint job. The permanent marriage of a customer to your auto dealership pays recurring dividends, as research shows return buyers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.

Welcome kits and subsequent timely service reminders are sent to customers to keep your dealership top-of-mind. These marketing materials seek to remind vehicle-purchasers that both parties benefit when the dealer-customer relationship is ongoing, rather than ending as the new car-buyer drives away from the dealership lot.

 

Key Components to Customer Welcome Kits

A successful customer welcome kit serves as a client communication tool designed to welcome, inform and remind customers to return to your dealership following their initial purchase. While there's no single formula for developing a retention-producing kit, these components should comprise your customer welcome kit:

  • Personalized Welcome Letter: Addressing each recipient by name, this 8.5 x 11" letter should thank customers for their business, reassure them they made the right decision by selecting your dealership for their vehicle needs, emphasize the service component of your offerings and provide contact information.
  • Maintenance Program Outline: This outline should highlight features of your maintenance plan, detailing whatever complimentary services exist — oil changes, tire rotations, vehicle inspections, etc. It should also provide information regarding your program's expiration date and mileage limit.
  • Program ID Card: This laminated card should contain the most pertinent information pertaining to your customers' maintenance programs, including a number to call for service. Make it wallet-sized to increase the likelihood customers keep it handy.

Tips for an Effective Customer Welcome Kit

Ultimately, your customer welcome kit represents just one piece of the customer experience you strive to build at your dealership, yet it's a significant part of the overall equation. Here are tips for maximizing the value your customer welcome kit brings to your retention strategy:

  • Personalization: A "one-size-fits-all" approach simply isn't sufficient for today's ever-discerning consumers. In addition to addressing your welcome letters to individual recipients, personalize them to originate from your dealership's sales manager, as well as the sales representative who assisted a particular customer. You can also customize with special offers and coupons.
  • Timing: You want to strike while the iron's hot with your customer welcome kit. Distribute it within two weeks of when a customer takes delivery of a new vehicle, if not sooner.
  • Built-In Reminders: You want to be remembered, don't you? Inclusion of a small token of your appreciation such as a dealer-branded key tag or license plate frame helps link your customer welcome kit to your brand.

When your dealership selects Performance Administration to spearhead your complimentary maintenance program, you're aligning your brand with a leader in automotive marketing. Each maintenance plan comes equipped with hassle-free, dealer-branded marketing materials. Available in two layout options and issued as if mailed from your dealership, personalized welcome kits are sent to your customers within 48 hours of vehicle delivery.

With an effective customer welcome kit, you stay connected with car-buyers long after they leave your dealership lot, fostering a retention strategy that can boost your bottom-line results. See where personalized welcome kits fit into a customer retention strategy, watch this short 2-minute video

 

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About the Author

Richard Knight

Rick Knight is an Automotive Customer Retention Executive who founded Certified Maintenance® Programs in 1996. Rick has been successful in building custom retention strategies for thousands of auto dealers to better than double CP/RO counts in the first 12 months of ownership, drive back 34+% of lost opportunity customers and help auto dealers Sell The Next Vehicle™. 

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