Care about your customer’s love language
“What happens to love after the wedding?”
Reading this in The 5 Love Languages book made me think of the customers I had seen the last 30 years in focus groups and survey data saying the same thing about their dealership: “I never heard from them after the sale.” Or, “It feels like I only hear from them when they want more money from me for a service or to sell me the next car.”
Thinking about customers instead of my own relationship was probably not the feeling I was supposed to have when I picked up this relationship improvement book the third week of the Covid lockdown. But like many of my clients’ perceptions of their relationships with customers, I thought my relationship was great.
But was it?
Perception may be reality. But, relationship reality is both peoples’ perceptions. My marriage of 22 years was suffering due to my new business taking up a lot of time. Though the Covid lockdown had brought my wife and I closer together, just talking more and being around more doesn’t mean you are fulfilling the other person (or customer). The book was telling me not to just interact with my wife, but to do so in her love language to make it meaningful for her.
The irony here is that the core principal of our company, ROAR, is to help businesses get as much return on a relationship (roar) as possible by providing experiences that are meaningful for that specific customer. We believe roar is the measure of business success today because it continuously measures relationship value for both parties, while defining potential risk to the value being achieved. Expanding relationship revenue to include referral and review generation is critical as rising customer acquisition costs for dealers at $630 a vehicle on average, combined with customers’ access to pricing and experience information squeeze transaction margins.
Yet, great relationships are hard to start and hard to keep. For instance, I think we would all agree feeling appreciated is a foundational element of a great relationship. Unfortunately, ROAR data tells us that many customers don’t believe their dealership appreciates their business enough (My dealership greatly appreciates my business = 37% yes), putting at risk a dealership’s return on a customer relationship.
We have all been in a lot of showrooms and service drives and it’s clear the salesperson or advisor told the customer thank you. But data says this event-based appreciation is not the ‘love language’ of many customers. Recurring relationship revenue requires more than a thank you and an occasional service reminder or flyer. This lack of meaningful interaction is seen in service retention data indicating less than half of customers use their dealership for customer-pay work beyond year 2 of ownership.
Luckily for us I finished The 5 Love Languages book and know the answers to help reduce our customer and personal relationship risk that I will share in a future post.
Thank you for reading. ROAR <<<