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As UK new car sales drop dealers need to focus on existing customers

Jon Oxtoby

Nathan Elliott

30 Oct 2018

According to the SMMT 2.5 million cars were registered in 2017. This is a 5.7% drop from 2016. This may come as a surprise to many as the market has been growing year on year since 2012.

One of the biggest factors of growth was down to the personal contact purchase plans on offer. Essentially these lease agreements have proven to be popular because it has made the financial burden easier to manage as its broken down into affordable monthly payments. You can see how its popularity has risen based upon the chart below.

The drop-in sales is down to the CO2 emissions and air quality campaigns which have resulted in less demand for diesel vehicles.

Now, this fall is expected to continue which may cause alarm bells, but dealers have other opportunities with their current client base. Let’s not forget that every car sold with a service package has nearly a 50% increase in retained margin over the customer lifetime (ICDP).

So, dealers ideally want to build solid relationships, this means going that extra mile. Every touchpoint, interaction and communication needs to be consistent, the customer needs to feel ‘delighted’ at every stage, they need to feel the same as they did when they first purchased their vehicle.

You want to give the customer very little reason to look elsewhere so make sure the service you offer is consistent from purchase to workshop, all the way to aftersales. By investing the time in them and offering them a consistent service every time you are creating a ‘dealer loyal’ customer.

One of the key elements that is often overlooked is personalisation and truly understanding your customer. A generic email or direct mail with a first name personalisation isn’t enough. The modern customer expects you to understand them and communicate with them on their terms.

This approach will take an investment of time but the return will be worth it. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking how nice it would be to receive marketing material from a car dealer that is actually tailored to me, about my car, my preferences, my needs?

Topics: retention, customer experience, loyalty, dealerships, customer satisfaction, lifetime value, finance, car sales

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