Loyalty programs aren’t new on the scene, especially in the automotive industry. They actually date way back to the early 1900’s when trading stamps, boxtops, and card-based programs were the way to go about it. Over the years, loyalty programs have evolved into the digital and mobile-based platforms they are today; and with that has come advanced functionality that makes customer behavior and insights a lot easier to track than ever before.
While the new bells and whistles loyalty programs have these days are great, you still need to ensure that they’re effective in doing the one thing they’re supposed to - bringing your customers back through your auto repair shop doors. How do you tell if your program is working effectively? Start with these few benchmarks.
Increased Average Repair Order
Arguably, one of the most important and relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) for determining the success of your loyalty program is seeing an increase in average repair order (ARO). Especially considering that increasing your ARO can be more profitable than increasing your car count.
The best way to make this determination is to compare the ARO of your customers who are enrolled in your loyalty program against the ARO of your customers who aren’t. Make it a point to schedule out some time every month, or quarter, to look over the analytics. If the ARO of your customers enrolled in your loyalty program is more than those who are not, your program is doing its job.
Program Use & Sign Ups
While seeing an increase in ARO is a tell-tale sign that your shop’s loyalty program is working, you’ll also want to pay close attention to program usage and sign-ups. How many of your customers are actively using your loyalty program? And how many of your customers have been signing up for your program?
Obviously, if your customers are enrolled in your loyalty program but aren’t taking advantage of the benefits — it’s not effective. Same goes for the sign-ups. If your staff is actively asking your customers to sign up for your loyalty program, and they continually say no, it’s not working. Again, take a deep dive into your loyalty program data on a monthly or quarterly basis to see how many of your customers are actively using it and how many new sign-ups you’re getting.
Companies like Panera and Starbucks report that an average of 40%-50% of their total sales are connected to their loyalty programs. This can be used as a benchmark for your auto repair shop. While 50% may seem high, it’s an attainable number especially with the help of platforms like BayIQ. In fact, with the help of automated email and text marketing you should be able to sign up half of your customer base in the first 6 months.
Increased Return Visits
Another important KPI to look into when determining if your automotive loyalty program is working is return visits. Are your customers actually coming back into your auto repair shop after getting their car serviced and signing up for your loyalty program? On average, customers who are enrolled in loyalty rewards programs come in twice as often as those who aren’t. So, take a look at the analytics and find out. If you’re not seeing an uptick in return visits, something’s up.
In addition to diving into the insights, you can also perform a traditional Recency, Frequency and Monetary (RFM) analysis for all your customers. This will allow you to see when the last time your customers have come in, how much they visit overall, and how much money they spend.
Return on Investment
Any investment you make into your auto repair shop, should provide some kind of return. This is no different when it comes to your loyalty program. Take a look at is two things:
- How much of a return your loyalty program is bringing overall - Are you retaining your customers? Are they spending more? Are they visiting more often?
- How much of that return exceeds the cost - Is the return you’re seeing exceeding the cost of the program? If your loyalty program is bringing in more sales and also retaining your customers, but the cost of it is higher, you’re technically not seeing a return.
How to Respond to Your Online Reviews
So, you’ve done your follow-up and have collected some reviews from your customers, now what? You need to respond, the good and the bad. In fact, 45% of consumers say they’re more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews. Keep these tips top of mind:
- Don’t let your emotions get the best of you with negative reviews. Step away from your keyboard to obtain a calm mental state and respond in a professional manner.
- Address the reviewer personally by using their name. Avoid using terms like “guest” or “customer”.
- Always say thank you, no matter what kind of review it is. Be grateful that they’re leaving you a review in the first place so you know which areas you’re killing it in or areas that need help.
A Better Option
At the end of the day, your auto repair shop needs a loyalty program that can do it all; one that has user-friendly features made for anyone but also actually works for what it’s intended to do. While there are many platforms that offer loyalty rewards programs, not many are made specifically for the auto repair industry and have built-in marketing tools that support it.
BayIQ fills in those gaps by providing an all-in-one approach for auto repair shops looking to provide an effective loyalty program to their customers, while also integrating digital marketing practices that increase car count and ARO. Additionally, BayIQ offers built-in analytics so you can track your KPIs and ensure the program is producing the business it should. Ready to experience a loyalty program that actually works?