Customer Retention: 7 Reasons Dealership Visitors Don’t Come Back

The Difference Between Failure and Success

We never forget the ones that got away.Yes, we welcome new customers to our dealerships with open arms, yet it stings when prospective car-buyers take their business elsewhere or when vehicle purchasers neglect to return for subsequent business. Customer retention, after all, reigns supreme in the retail automotive industry.

The stats are irrefutable: It’s up to 10 times more expensive to acquire a new customer versus maintaining a current one, and it’s estimated that 80 percent of your future revenue will come from the top 20 percent of your existing customers. Quite simply, having a sound customer retention strategy can mean the difference between failure and success from a dealership profitability standpoint.

Rather than wonder what might have been when it comes to lost customers, it’s best to learn from our mistakes, making customer retention an utmost priority moving forward. Here are seven reasons dealership visitors don’t come back:

1. Pushy Salespeople

Fair or otherwise, dealership salespeople have a reputation for coming off as being aggressive. Time is money, and it’s their job to close deals fast. But when this stereotype is reinforced in modern dealership experiences, prospective car-buyers opt to look elsewhere for their vehicle needs. It’s a fine line between engaging customers as you attempt to secure a sale, and latching onto them in an overly assertive manner that ultimately drives them away. The latter approach certainly won’t bode customer retention.

2. Failure to Acknowledge Due Diligence

Nowadays many car-buying customers enter your dealership armed with hours of online research under their belts. They’ve read automotive reviews, studied car valuation reports and have a strong grasp over which vehicles interest them. Rather than dismissing the homework, these prospective customers have done, your dealership needs to embrace and reward their efforts. Otherwise, these discerning automotive customers will move on.

3. No Complimentary Maintenance Offering

Some dealerships mistakenly rest on their laurels once a vehicle transaction is assured, but your task is not yet finished simply because the paperwork is signed. Rather, it’s time to implement a key component of your customer retention strategy. When you succeed with convincing car-buyers to participate in a dealer-owned complimentary maintenance program, you keep your dealership top-of-mind through handling recurring service needs, thus increasing the likelihood customers return for their next purchase.

4. Lack of Showroom Amenities

Although today’s prospective car-buyers spend less time visiting dealerships, they have higher expectations of what the dealership experience entails. When car-buying becomes a family affair, amenities like complimentary refreshments, free Wi-Fi access and a designated play area for children are not only appreciated but often expected. If your dealership is lacking with regard to modern features and conveniences, some customers will be drawn to your competitors.

5. Insufficient Welcome Effort

Prospective vehicle purchasers have numerous options at their disposal nowadays and can afford to be selective. Consequently, the onus is on the dealership to make these customers feel welcome. A dealership that fails to issue a personalized customer welcome kit within one week of vehicle delivery is missing out on a golden opportunity to jump-start customer retention with a car-buyer.

6. Absence of Proactive Customer Monitoring

A proactive approach is necessary in order to retain customers. If your dealership lacks service management software capable of tracking lost customers, you’re doing yourself a disservice. With the duration of time that typically elapses between vehicle purchases, it’s easy for customers to forget their car-buying source if your strategy doesn’t include regular loyalty and service reminders.

7. Overall Poor Service

In a world where consumers encounter service fails constantly, your smiling face and guaranteed competency go a long way. Yet too many prospective car-buyers suffer a poor service experience at the dealership. They endure everything from pushiness and interruptions to unresponsiveness and assumptions. Don’t let your dealership get lumped in with the “dreaded consumer experience” stigma. Get the basics right every time by providing service that’s helpful yet not overbearing, responsive yet not assertive and knowledgeable yet not all-knowing. A delighted customer is a retained customer in the making.

Looking for new ways to drive customers back to your dealership for service and vehicle repurchase? Get started on your customer retention journey with this short video overview. Or, book time to discuss your retention strategy with a customer retention program.