Create Customer Loyalty

Create Customer Loyalty

Dealer Marketing Magazine

Are you satisfied with the loyalty of your customers? Do they cheat on you by visiting the local quick lube, independent service center, or your competing dealership? Let’s take a step back, and focus on keeping the customers you already have, happy. With a first-class customer follow-up system in place, you will be armed with the tool to reduce the number of “unfaithful” customers.

Service and sales customer follow-up results will provide the information you need to implement the proper processes and fine-tune employee performance. You can use the information to set standards and establish a measuring stick to maintain them. Without a follow-up program in place, you will be unaware of most customer complaints. If you don’t know about them, you will have no chance to resolve them, and you may find it is impossible to retain customers who had a poor experience at your dealership.

The vast majority of upset customers won’t complain to you. Most of them will simply avoid a confrontation, go away mad, and take their business with them. According to Technical Assistance Research Programs of Washington, D.C., for every customer who complains to you, another twenty-six won't. It costs ten times as much to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one, so it’s imperative to keep the ones you have, happy.

Remember that your number-one customer is your competitors’ number-one prospect. After only one negative experience at your dealership, any customer can leave you for your competitor and never return. Give yourself the chance to retain every single customer by making sure you know about each instance of dissatisfaction.

You’ve probably heard the age-old statistic that when a customer is dissatisfied, he or she will tell 14 to 17 other people how unhappy they are. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, if you just listento an upset customer’s problem without taking any action to resolve it, they will tell only 7 people of their dissatisfaction. If you listen and attempt to solve the problem, even if your effort is unsuccessful, they will tell no one that they are dissatisfied. Finally, if you listen and then actually solve the problem, that customer will tell 5 people how effective you are! This compares favorably with customers who didn’t have a problem in the first place. They will tell only 3 people, on the average, how happy they are with their good service experience!

When a customer has a complaint, you must be certain to have a tool in place to uncover the problem, and you must have a process ready to resolve it. If both of these requirements are met, you can begin to view customer dissatisfaction as an opportunity rather than a problem.

Dusty Dunkle is Vice President of Customer Research, Inc., a provider of telephone follow-up in the automotive industry since 1967. Contact Dusty at 800.886.3472; by e-mail at; or visit