Historically, it was difficult for dealers to stay in touch with their customers throughout their lifecycle. However, with all the communication channels available today, the consuming task of communicating appropriately with your dealership’s active customers is a much more palatable task.
Do you want to keep your customers thinking of you first? Or do you fear that your competitors are treating your customers like they are their customers? In order to lead your current customers down the preferred customer path there are two important timeframes and several related topics to keep them thinking they’re your customers.

New Vehicle / Next Vehicle Purchase Timeframe

Your dealership’s Sales Department should communicate with your customers as if their interaction were a date or an event with a close friend. If you attended a social event with a friend or attended a party at their home, normal etiquette would be to send a “Thank You Note” afterward. The same would be true following the sale of a car. Every salesperson would admit that the purchase experience is time-consuming and demanding on all parties involved. Therefore, knowing the importance of and effort during a car purchase, it is a good practice to send the buyer a note expressing your dealership’s appreciation of their business. Just as I am sure you would appreciate a “thank you note” from a friend after all the effort and time you put forth hosting a party.

Who doesn’t love to receive a birthday card? Okay, so maybe the reminder of the fact I’m aging isn’t exactly fun…but it’s nice to know someone is thinking of me on my special day. Well, car dealers should use this personal event as reason to communicate with their customers by sending birthday cards.

What about a “Purchase Anniversary Card”? Your customers need…and should… be reminded of how much you appreciate them as a customer. On the anniversary of when the car was purchased, it is an opportune time for your dealership to send a card that not only expresses your gratitude, but also includes a special offer or discount to drive them back to your store.

What if you had a way to save a friend some money? Toward the end of the customer journey, your dealership should communicate “Current Specials” to entice your “friend”, the customer, to purchase their next vehicle from your store. Since they have purchased from you once before, you’ve maintained contact with them throughout the life of their vehicle and now they need a new vehicle, it is an ideal time for you to remind them of your relationship and extend an offer that saves them money.

Current / Past Service Timeframe

The communications from the Service Department should work concurrently with those sent by the Sales Department. A “Welcome Note” to your customer, greeting them as a member of the Service Family is a nice touch. We all want to feel welcome and like we’re part of a family, don’t we?!

A friendly “Reminder for Minor or Major Services” are in order to distinguish your Service Department and its services. The same would be true for notifying your customers of their Warranty and Extended Warranty service. Reminders sent at the appropriate time can create an action by a consumer.

› See More: Customer Retention Throughout the Customer Journey