This week I was at the Auto Remarketing Certified Pre-Owned Conference where one of the main themes was customer engagement and retention. They devoted an hour-long panel discussion to best practices for engaging customers. As I sat there, it occurred to me that there’s never been a better time and opportunity to increase retention.
Social business is rooted in customer engagement. It’s about creating an online community around your store. As part of that community, the Social customer welcomes your efforts to retain them. Engaging in relevant conversations on an ongoing basis keeps you in their sites. If you consistently engage them, you will retain them.
What are some of the tactics you can use to keep your Social customer engaged? Here are 10 components to a successful retention process:
1. Respond to comments and leads in a timely manner. Gone are the days of taking a few hours to respond to a lead. Engaging in conversation around your brand keeps you “top of mind” when it’s time to buy. If a customer reaches out, respond as though you were having a conversation in real life.
2. Add value to the conversation by bringing in outside content that’s relevant. Don’t just broadcast your own stuff. People like freebies so offering coupons, discounts and specials is fine but don’t over do it.
3. Post your blog articles on all your Social platforms. Blogs are a great way to initiate a discussion around your products and services. Prospective buyers want to know more about you and inspiring them with your blog keeps them engaged.
4. Be sure to include photos and video. Customer video testimonials are particularly valuable–they’re sharable, they make content personal and that builds trust.
5. Train employees. Your team is the conduit to your customer. Make them aware of what content you’re looking for to post so they can support your campaigns.
6. Deal with negativity and misinformation openly and clearly. Always respond and don’t overreact. Simple conflict resolution (which we’ve always incorporated at dealerships) is the most effective approach. If the situation calls for it, take it offline to resolve it.
7. Recognize and promote members of your Social community. Reward loyal customers. This is where your Raving Fans can really shine. Spotlight one each week–their enthusiasm is contagious.
8. Make it easy to connect to your other Social platforms by posting links. Even though Facebook is the Mac Daddy, many customers also like to connect with you on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn or your blog.
9. Encourage offline customers to become fans. It’s okay to offer some incentives for joining your Facebook community. Donations to favorite charities or causes are an effective tool and they also show social responsibility.
10. Remember Facebook and Twitter are not the same. You need different strategies for each. Twitter is a one-to-one platform, Facebook is a community. You can share similar content on each but make sure it’s customized for your audience.
Retaining customers after the first vehicle sale has always been a hot topic for both the dealership and the manufacturer. With Social Media, dealers have an awesome opportunity to increase retention by engaging customers through their Social presence. All you need to do is grab the opportunity and go for it.