Now more than ever, connecting with customers on an emotional level more than a purely transactional one is a priority for many businesses. A great way to do that and to show your appreciation is an automotive loyalty program. Before you dive in head first, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Tip #1: Define Its Purpose
You know you need a customer loyalty program, but what is your ultimate objective? To acquire more business? To retain current business? Whatever your goal may be, define it from the offset. That way, you know what areas of the business to track, to determine if your loyalty program is achieving results such as:
- New customer sign-ups
- Increased car count
- Increased customer retention
- Increased units per sale
Tip #2: Train All Employees
Bottom line: your automotive loyalty program should have buy-in from everyone on your team–those covering the front end of your shop as well as the techs in the back end.
Moreover, every employee represents your company and will likely have the opportunity to promote your loyalty program so it’s important that they not only know everything about it but also believe in its value. Prior to launch, set up in-depth training so they understand your offerings. They should be able to answer the following:
- How customers can sign up
- How loyalty rewards members earn points
- How members eventually redeem points
- General rules and regulations
Not only will your team’s enthusiasm be contagious and encourage a warmer reception towards your program, but it will also save your company from potential embarrassment should an employee make misleading claims about how it works.
Tip #3: Avoid Hoops
The entire point of a loyalty program is to foster long-term relationships with your customers and reward them for choosing your shop. With that said, earning rewards should be an easy, seamless experience—do A, get B.
- Good: Starbucks keeps track of points for customers and allows the customer to choose what to redeem them for and when.
- Not So Good: Ace Hardware created a loyalty program that awards 10 points for every dollar spent. But, as a specialty store, customers don’t frequent there as often making it nearly impossible to earn enough points for the $5 reward.
Before you launch your automotive loyalty program, ask yourself:
- Are the rewards worth the time to sign up?
- Is it easy to explain?
- Is it easy to earn rewards?
If you’ve answered yes to each, you’re on the right track.
Tip #4: Create a Soft Launch
You don’t have to go all in at the beginning. That could quickly get overwhelming. A soft launch—making it available to only specific customers first— gives your shop the opportunity to work out any kinks. Start by carefully selecting customers based on criteria, such as the most frequent visitors or those in the top 10% of spending. Then, set a period of time within which you monitor the program.
There are a handful of benefits to a soft launch, including:
- Getting a rough idea of how well your program works before a company-wide launch. This way, you can make any necessary adjustments.
- Saving your company from the potential embarrassment of a poorly functioning program.
- Helping you gain honest and constructive feedback from those customers already committed to your brand.
Tip #5: Don’t Create a Loyalty Program from Scratch
Building a loyalty program from scratch is attainable if you’re willing to hire a developer to create the software or provide antiquated hole-punch cards. If neither of those seem like real options, consider a pre-built system.
Companies such as BayIQ offer ready to go loyalty programs that can be built into your current system. Their team is made of auto professionals (like you) with years of experience in the field, so they know exactly what is needed and how to help. Beyond automotive loyalty programs, BayIQ offers online review solicitation, email and text marketing, appointment schedulers, automated reminders, and more.
With BayIQ you can start building customer loyalty without lifting a finger.