Keep It Simple For A Parts And Service Customer Loyalty Program That Sticks
Dealerships that sell heavy-duty commercial trucks or construction equipment need to have a customer loyalty program as much as the coffee shop down the street. Competition is tougher than ever, and profit margins are thinner than ever – yours and your customers’. A loyalty program that offers worthwhile rewards benefits everyone. And what do your customers need most?
Parts and service.
You could offer rewards such as dinners, tickets to sports or entertainment events, etc. But that’s a bad idea, for two reasons. First, it costs you money out of pocket, so it’s an added drain on your budget. Second, while your customers may appreciate these things, they can’t take them to the bank. Rewarding them with parts and service discounts helps them protect their bottom line and build their business.
They will be more loyal to you because you are helping them where it counts most.
Keep it simple.
The easier it is to understand and use your customer loyalty program, the more successful it will be. That starts with the mechanics – how you structure the program:
- How much does a customer have to spend on parts or service before they receive a reward? Will you use dollars to mark progress, or assign points?
- Will they be able to track their own progress?
- How will they redeem their reward?
As an example, the Loyalty Bound program was designed specifically for heavy-duty truck and construction equipment dealers, so it provides a comprehensive platform that makes it easy for you and your customers to see and redeem rewards.
Make the goal reasonably attainable. Program members will be far more motivated if they can reach incremental goals quickly, rather than working toward a single goal that seems almost out of reach. Incremental goals make your program more valuable for owner operators or small fleets that don’t have the ongoing purchasing power of large fleets. Again, you know your customers and you’re catering to them. That builds loyalty as much as the actual reward.
You can also consider rewarding behavior other than purchasing parts and service. For instance, you could offer extra reward dollars or points for customer referrals. But, again, keep it simple.
Give them a signing bonus.
Studies show that offering an “artificial advancement” can significantly boost interest and participation in your customer loyalty program. The key is to make it clear to customers that this is also a reward – as a thank-you for joining your program, you’re giving them a head start on meeting their first redemption goal.
You can also consider offering a “surprise bonus” at some point in the future, as a special thank-you if your customer makes a purchase outside the scope of the loyalty program – a new truck or piece of equipment, for example – or simply as additional thanks for their long-term relationship with your dealership.
Appeal to their ego with tiered rewards.
Everyone wants to see themselves as a savvy business manager. Your loyalty program can help customers do that by appealing to their competitive nature or their secret sense of superiority. How? Create different classes within your program. This can also encourage additional spending, since customers want to boost themselves into a higher tier.
Whether you call your tiers Gold, Silver and Platinum or Light, Medium and Heavy Duty doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they are distinctly different, with escalating benefits. Use your most profitable parts or services to drive membership in the higher tiers.
If you don’t have a customer loyalty program – one that’s simple to use to achieve meaningful rewards – you could find yourself losing parts and service customers to a competitor who does reward repeat business. With a program in place, you can not only increase ongoing after-market sales, you can use the program as value-added benefit for new truck or equipment purchases. Everybody wins.