Employing a customer loyalty program can prove rewarding not only for the customer but also for your auto repair shop. Studies show that it’s 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. That’s why customer retention is crucial for the longevity of any business.
A great way to improve retention is to build customer loyalty through a loyalty rewards program. Here is everything you need to know about creating customer loyalty programs for your shop- the first step toward gaining customers with higher average repair orders and who visit more often.
Step 1: Get the Word Out
The first step to creating customer loyalty programs for auto repair shops is to make sure customers know about it. Important points to keep in mind include:
- Ensure service advisors, managers, and other employees know about the program and talk with customers about it
- Add a banner and/or page to your website
- Include collateral in the waiting room to pique interest from customers
- Brand the program with something unique to your business
Don’t be afraid to choose something that’s catchy or charming. For example; instead of simply calling it “The North Face’s loyalty program”, the outdoor gear retailer The North Face gave its loyalty system the name “VIPeak program”, which cleverly plays on the concept of a VIP.
Step 2: Make Rewards Attainable
The main reason a customer joins a loyalty program is to take advantage of the rewards. That’s why it’s important to make them easy to join and the rewards easy to attain. Here are some of the most common ways customers can earn rewards:
- Frequency cards- Customers receive a unique punch or digital stamp after every purchase leading up to a complimentary service or discount.
- Points- Customers rack up points based on purchases they can redeem for a complimentary service or discount.
- Cashback- Customers earn rewards that they can redeem for a certain amount of cashback.
- Refer a friend- Customers send a discount code to a friend. If used the customer will earn a reward. This is a great method to incentivize general word-of-mouth advertising, which is especially beneficial in the auto repair industry.
- Brand pairings- Customers earn discounts for your shop when they make a purchase with a partner brand. This is a great strategy to retain current customers and solicit new ones.
- Fringe benefits- Your loyalty program members are eligible for discounts at other businesses.
- Non-monetary perk- Customers who reach a specific number of points or unlock the next tier receive a complimentary service or discount.
Regardless of the type, every loyalty rewards program should work towards incentivizing its customers through various methods. This means you can opt to provide more than one reward strategy to create an all-encompassing approach.
Pro Tip: Consider offering rewards just for being part of the program. Consider giving extra points or discounts for birthdays, the anniversary of joining the rewards program, and/or during the holidays.
Step 3: Provide Multiple Opportunities for Enrollment
Customers can’t join your loyalty rewards program if they don’t know it’s there. That’s why you should utilize various marketing channels to inform them such as:
- At your shop during a purchase or visit
- Through email or text outreach
- On social media
- On your website
The key is to make joining as simple as possible, so make sure that there is more than one place customers can enroll. This way, you don’t have to rely on one method to increase your members.
Step 4: Set Goals for Your Team
The point of customer loyalty rewards programs for auto repair shops is to both retain and attain new customers. That’s why it’s important to set measurable goals for your team and keep an eye on the overall performance to ensure expectations are being met. Here are three performance indicators to watch:
- Engagement- Know how your customers engage with your loyalty rewards program and your shop overall so you can create marketing strategies based on that information.
Ask: When was the last time they made a purchase? How often do they come to the shop? Have they written a review? Do they follow you on Facebook?
- Redemption Performance- It’s crucial to ensure your loyalty rewards program is working by being utilized regularly. Make it a priority to measure how many points, promotions, bonuses or discounts are being redeemed by customers.
Ask: Did sales go up after a promotion was announced? How many loyalty rewards members redeemed points?
- Transaction History- Similar to the importance of knowing how your customers engage with your shop you also need to know how much they spend when they come in.
Ask: How much is your average repair order increasing?
Step 5: Select the Best Software to Start Your Loyalty Rewards Program
The process of creating a loyalty rewards program and the decisions involved can be a lengthy undertaking. Luckily, software can assist you in not only streamlining the process but also tracking your members and performance.
While there are companies focused solely on loyalty programs in various industries, choosing one that knows auto repair shops and can help in other aspects of your marketing efforts will produce a better return on investment. BayIQ’s marketing software not only has a loyalty rewards program specifically tailored for auto repair shops, but also possesses numerous marketing features such as:
- Email and text message marketing
- Online reviews with Google and Facebook
- Appointment scheduler
- Dashboards and reporting features
- Fully integrated with most point-of-sale shop management systems
- Rewards customer portal to access transaction history and enroll family members
BayIQ will help increase your car count and average repair order by ensuring your customers remain loyal to your shop long term.