Why Your Dealership Should Embrace the Credit Union

By Staff Writer on February 27, 2018

There’s something about a credit union. Known for their local presence and ability to provide a better, more-personalized banking experience, credit unions are well-positioned to provide a higher level of …

Why Your Dealership Should Embrace the Credit Union

By Staff Writer on February 27, 2018

There’s something about a credit union. Known for their local presence and ability to provide a better, more-personalized banking experience, credit unions are well-positioned to provide a higher level of …

OneClick Loyalty Blog

Why Your Dealership Should Embrace the Credit Union

By Staff Writer on February 27, 2018

There’s something about a credit union. Known for their local presence and ability to provide a better, more-personalized banking experience, credit unions are well-positioned to provide a higher level of service while offering most of the same conveniences as a major retail bank.

Just like credit unions, automotive dealerships play a pivotal role in their community. Dealerships provide employment opportunities, give back to the community and have a deeper connection with the customer due to their being the last, physical mile in the vehicle purchasing cycle.

“Dealerships that embrace credit union relationships, and who by culture are active in the community, position themselves as the businesses this large group of consumers wants to engage,” CU Direct Lending (CUDL), a lending group that works with credit unions and dealerships, states in in their white paper: Technology, Relationships Spurring Dealers’ Growth in Credit Union Lending.

Partnering with a credit union opens the doors to increased revenue and opportunity. Is your dealership taking advantage of a credit union’s local presence?

More Than Lending

Bill Rusch, Finance Director at Raymond Chevrolet, offers a surprising statistic regarding partnering with CUDirect: “One hundred percent of deals through CUDL will include at least one additional product, and the majority will consist of two to three products.” While not all transactions between a dealership and a credit union will boast this success rate, there are positive revenue implications for all parties, including the more satisfied customer.

Imagine harnessing the power of trust with a credit union to help grow revenue. When you establish a relationship with a local credit union that will endorse you, or better yet, refer you and your business, the benefits are monumental. Under the glow of a credit union, a dealership has the ability to generate more after-sales and service revenue dollars.

“Buyers quickly see the credit union advantage and thus more likely to also buy GAP, road hazard or a service contract.” He notes, “That makes a difference for us – and it’s better for the member customers too,” Rusch states.

Credit union members put a great deal of faith in their financial institution, so if your dealership makes their list of those they work with, your dealership can see increased revenue and higher customer satisfaction.

The report from CUDL adds, “Credit unions carry a halo effect that helps dealers build consumer trust, confidence and endorsement. No other lending alternative has this affect and benefit to dealers.”

In spite of a decrease in automotive sales, credit unions saw a significant boost in lending. CUDL provided over one million loans making it the highest ranked auto lender followed by Capital One Auto Finance (940,070 auto loans).

No longer a product-centric world, the customer experience is what is helping drive satisfaction, retention and revenue. From that point of view, mapping the customer experience and discovering how the various stakeholders and players can impact each other positively can lead to measurable success. Credit unions can help dealerships provide the level of confidence and convenience that makes the customer-centric world go-round.

The Customer Journey Starts Long Before They Visit Your Showroom

By Staff Writer on February 20, 2018

Are you thinking point-of-sale or all the points that lead to the sale?

If you’re thinking of just point-of-sale, you may be hurting your bottom line.

It’s all about the customer experience, the customer journey and the customer satisfaction.

It’s no longer about browsing multiple dealerships, test driving cars and haggling with a salesperson (which customers hate – to put it in perspective, a Gallup poll found 9 percent of respondents found car salesmen honest and ethical; members of congress got 8 percent) –  it’s the sum of every customer experience leading up to the purchase.

“Whether they’re shopping for a simple razor or looking to spend $50,000 on a vehicle, consumers have come to expect an easy, personalized and informative shopping experience,” a Perq Digital Book states.

Customers will conduct so much research along that journey that when they enter your dealership, their sale is yours to lose.

And so, the sales cycle begins in any number of ways. A car buyer may seek recommendations, start Googling types of vehicles they want or seek out a car based on make. They may even casually browse with no intention of purchasing a vehicle at all.

With the help of location-based algorithms or search keywords, they may end up on your website. Just type Ford into a search engine and dealerships in a 20-mile radius are likely to pop up; and you could be one of them. When the customer clicks on your website, what do they see?

For most, dealer websites are internet versions of that salesperson they want to avoid. Prices and deals and pictures. Oh, and lead generation forms. Customers have no problem giving up information as long as they see a benefit in doing so. Unfortunately, many do not, so they see these forms as nothing more than a nuisance; therefore, the experience is thwarted by creating a poor impression and thus little-to-no value for the lead.

The customer’s research will most likely lead them to your website long before they consider entering your showroom. Your website can provide them with clear, useful information to guide their decision-making other than a long list of features (don’t all vehicles have AM/FM radio?) and prices (isn’t that part of the dreaded haggling process?). Will that really persuade them to visit your showroom?

The key is providing useful tools and information to help the car buyer make their decision. To be memorable, you have to show you’re ahead of the competition.

  • Excellent Pictures

Having quality photos of your inventory helps you and your vehicles stand out compared with other dealerships. Poor pictures can reduce the perceived value, condition and quality of the vehicle.

  • Vehicle Descriptions

When a customer views a vehicle on your website, are they bombarded with features or is there a captivating description of what driving the vehicle is like? Does the customer feel the smooth performance and luxurious, leather seating? Or are they just reading “Leather Seats” and “AWD 6-Speed Automatic”?

  • Home Page

Why should a customer bring their business to you? A scrolling carousel of lease deals won’t differentiate one dealer from another. Awards, commitment to service and listing other benefits will help a car buyer see why your dealership is different.


The best way to be memorable is to be present. If someone bought a vehicle from you, interact with them in a way that adds to the experience because if you expect them to return in five or six years to buy their next car, then you’re wishful thinking – and losing a lot of potential after-sales revenue as well.

A customer’s journey into purchasing their next vehicle should be never-ending. If there is no interaction after delivery, you will need to reacquire the customer as if you never had them in the first place.

Through OneClick Loyalty, we make it easy for you to digitally engage with the car buyer. They learn the benefits of service through your dealership, get advice on keeping their car running smoothly and receive the right messages at the right time so that they are receptive.

With only a handful of positive interactions, you build an enjoyable experience that your customers will associate with your dealership. And, when it’s time to purchase or lease again, they will naturally feel compelled to make the journey back through your showroom doors.

Proactive, positive engagement and a resourceful and responsive website will help pave the way for retention.

Just One Expert on Tech Can Boost Customer Service

By Staff Writer on February 13, 2018

Customers are inundated with more features to learn about their vehicles. Dealerships have the responsibility and an incredible amount of pressure to take the car buyer through a variety of features – some of which the salesperson may not be very familiar with.

As vehicles become more equipped with higher levels of tech, it will be increasingly imperative for the dealership to take on an active role in explaining its full capabilities. By proactively explaining the tech features to the customer, a dealership can show they are truly invested in the customer experience, even after they have driven off the lot.

Everyone loves tech in their vehicles but not everyone easily understands it. While the younger generations appreciate the connectivity and high-tech components of the vehicle, older generations find the blind spot warnings, back-up cameras and braking features to be especially beneficial. Some need more instructions on usage over others.

The basic features we take for granted such as climate control, radio, GPS and cruise control are no longer about turning a dial; it’s multifaceted and can be a considerable distraction when learning its use while driving.

This becomes an issue though when it’s time to explain the full range of tech features on the vehicle and how to maximize its use. Yes, a customer understands the vehicle has air conditioning and window defrosting, and they probably believe they can quickly implement them at a moment’s notice, however, fiddling with the console features when they’re not used to them can be frustrating.

The problem is, the last thing most car buyers want to do after spending hours at the dealership is to sit and learn about the car they just bought. They just want to drive it out of there.

The trick is creating a great experience that proves you are committed to customer satisfaction. The Northwest GM dealership has a salesperson who is considered a tech-friendly customer support person, or “tech-spert”, and is available to chat with customers when they have tech-related questions, even after they have taken delivery and left the lot.

They also shoot tutorials. A one-minute “how-to” video show from a smart phone regarding using the GPS feature has the opportunity to bring more eyes to your dealership and show that you not only care about the customer experience, but that you are experts in the vehicle features.

Offering quick, “how-to” videos digitally is valuable because the customer has it on-demand, so they can access it months later, if necessary.

OneClick Loyalty is the perfect platform to reach out to customers and assure them that you are available to answer any questions regarding their vehicle, including features, F&I and other aspects related to their car.

When the buyer needs an expert, make sure they have a reason to come to you. Being available and ensuring the customer gets the most out of their vehicle ownership experience plays a big role in driving retention, building loyalty and increasing revenue.

Do You Deserve a Referral?

By Staff Writer on February 6, 2018

Have you ever enjoyed a meal so thoroughly that you couldn’t wait to recommend the restaurant to your friends and family?  What was it about that experience that made it so exceptional?

It probably went beyond the taste of the food. The service and the atmosphere were probably noteworthy too.

Finally, did the restaurant ask you to refer them to your friends and family?

When it comes to operating the dealership, whether sales or service, are you creating advocates or asking for referrals to those whose experience doesn’t warrant one?

When Facebook friends ask for recommendations on where to purchase their next car or to go for service, your name may come up: “ABC Dealership is good,” they might say. But a dozen other friends might recommend their go-to place for car sales or service as well.

Asking Isn’t Enough

Referrals are arguably one of the cheapest forms of advertising. They come from a trusted source and the people like knowing they are going to where their friends have been before. But if your salespeople or service advisors don’t seem to care about the level of service they provide or don’t seem interested in doing more than is necessary, why should you expect the customer to proactively refer you?

Asking doesn’t hurt but most would probably shrug it off. “Yeah, sure. I’ll tell my friends about you.” But the likelihood is small unless their friend asks, “Hey, where did you buy your car?” or “Where do you take your car for service.”

Even then, it’s not a referral, it’s answering a question.

The follow up could go as followed:

Customer’s Friend: “Do you like them?”

Customer: “Yeah.”

It’s not necessarily a ringing endorsement of your dealership.

Aside from advocates who will refer you on their own, there are ideal moments when a dealership can maximize their referral request:

1. They show excitement toward the product or service you provided.

When you tell the customer the vehicle looks great after their oil change and there were no problems, they will probably show a little excitement – most are afraid of a major problem discovered when bringing their car in; even wondering if they are being scammed.

Ask for the referral then. “I hope we provided you with great service. A referral is the best compliment we can receive.”


2. When they compliment you, that would be another ideal time to ask for the referral.

If they say, “You’re always so good here. You really know how to take care of my car and your coffee is delicious.”

You can respond, “Thank you. If you know anyone looking to service their vehicle, please send them our way and we’ll treat them just as good too.”

But it still comes down to the customer service and how the customer feels — make it so they want to refer you.


Find Areas of Improvement

While many take to Google to give their two cents on a business, it can be hard to gauge exactly where improvements are needed based on reading and responding to reviews. Surveys can provide insight into a dealership’s areas of improvements.

Soon after delivery or service, it’s advisable to send a short survey to the customer to gain valuable feedback on their experience. When it comes to designing a survey that customers fill out, shorter is better – over half of the survey participants often will not spend more than three minutes filling out a survey.

Do You Deserve a Referral?

The actions a salesperson or service advisor takes will ultimately determine if your dealership deserves the referral. As the automotive industry continues its shift from product-centric to customer-centric, customers will expect more from the companies they do business with.

They can buy a car anywhere and take their vehicle in for service at any number of places all offering a similar price-point. Why should they choose you?

It will ultimately be what you can offer the customer versus your competitors. Low prices won’t cut it. As James Brinkley, Dealer Marketing Magazine, says, “…offer your customers more (value)…not less (price).”

Next time someone inquires, “Where should I buy my car?” Your customer can respond, “I know the perfect place. They’re great. Ask for John.”

The New Kind of Loyalty and Rewards Program

By Staff Writer on January 31, 2018

Southwest Airlines & Marriott.

Hilton Hotels & Amazon.


70 percent of consumers embrace the idea of companies partnering to create new loyalty programs that allow customers to earn rewards across multiple brands.

It’s called coalition loyalty and its popularity is just one of the new types of evolving loyalty programs that consumers are expecting from the companies with whom they spend their money.

Consumers are seeking programs where rewards can be accumulated and used across multiple brands like Southwest Rapid Rewards, which allows their customers to exchange points earned from their Marriott Rewards and use it toward Southwest miles.

One of the top examples of coalition loyalty is Plenti — an American Express company — boasting 20 million members. This rewards programs can be used for everything from gas and clothing to restaurants and travel. You can also save money when checking out and earn points faster when shopping online.

Businesses are seeing the benefits of exposure. Using Plenti as an example, a member who may not be loyal to a car rental company may consider Enterprise Rent-A-Car due to its association with the program and the ability to increase reward points.

There are many pain points to consider when rolling out a loyalty program:

Pain Point #1: Slow accumulation of points

Another contention in the quest to develop a rewards program is how quickly it takes to earn rewards. In an era of instant gratification, a slow, drawn-out path to earn a reward is not seen as a valuable part of loyalty and can actually be viewed as a barrier.

Pain Point #2: Spend-and-earn isn’t enough

Consumers also want more than just a ‘spend-and-earn’ model as many feel their time is a form of currency. In fact, consumers are increasingly seeing time as money and want to earn rewards when spending time with a brand. For example, nearly 75% want to be rewarded for their time filling out surveys or watching brand videos.

Millennials are the leaders when it comes to the desire to go beyond ‘spend-and-earn’. That’s because loyalty isn’t about trading dollars for points; it’s about meaningful connections with the brand. The more engaging and creative a brand is, the likelier they are to show their loyalty.

Howard Schneider, a senior consultant for Kobie Marketing, says, “Customers will remember their experience with a brand long after they’ve forgotten a discount. Companies cultivate true customer loyalty by making customers’ lives easier and making sure each engagement.”

Pain Point #3: Not another card!

Customers don’t want the burden of keeping a selection of cards in their wallet or risk forgetting them. A collection of physical loyalty and reward cards can be a real hassle. Mobility is key to increasing the customer experience and ease-of-use of a rewards program. A mobile app can even help a brand personalize a message and target a customer based on location. Red Lobster recently began a rewards program via mobile app and Starbucks was one of the first to roll out a loyalty program on a mobile app, even adding the convenience of ordering on-the-go.


When it comes to loyalty and rewards programs, while customers still want things for free or rewards based on point accumulation, it’s more than just giving. Loyalty programs should focus on the customer experience and provide emotional incentives for them to choose your business. What do customers want? According to HelloWorld’s 2017 Loyalty Barometer Report: What Consumers Think of Loyalty & Reward Programs — consumers believe a loyalty program should provide:

  • 82% — Discounts and offers
  • 77% — Free products
  • 66% — Free services
  • 39% — Priority customer service

Giving the customer a good brand experience is about loyalty. Rewards, discounts and offers are good ways to introduce a brand or product. Targeting and personalization, however, is the key to engagement and is what will drive loyalty because it shows a brand or company is engaged and listening. The right offers and discounts are sent at the right times to the right people, who build rewards faster and have higher levels of satisfaction.

Why Not Sunday for Service?

By Staff Writer on January 15, 2018

For decades there have been laws preventing car sales on Sundays. Some dealerships see it as antiquated; others embrace it.

But, forget the car sales part of the equation and considered, even if limited hours, opening the service bays on a Sunday even if you legally have to keep the showroom closed.

Essentially, it could be your most profitable day of the week.

Chris Miller, President of Recall Masters, recently touted the benefits in a Digital Dealer article. One dealership saw 80 percent of the jobs coming in on Sunday needing maintenance work, such as quick service. “This immediately increases customer-pay revenue…” Miller says.

This service also eases the frustrations of customers trying to bring their vehicles in before work during the week and helps stave off third-party competition from quick lube centers who remain open on Sundays and willing service customers.

Few dealerships open their doors on Sundays (if they are legally allowed to do so), however, those who do find benefits.

Jeff Dobson, Service Manager at Pohanka Chevrolet, states, “It’s easier for clients to come in on Sunday. Put yourself in their shoes, alter your hours to meet their needs.”

Pohanka Chevrolet has offered Sunday service for about a decade.

Recruiting quality talent and retaining employees may be easier as well. Rick Wegley, an instructor with NCM Associates, recommends making “weekend hours a part of your recruitment.” Technicians may enjoy the steady work and knowing they can do activities, generally reserved for weekends, on a Monday when there is less of a crowd.

Consumers expect “convenience, customized service and control of the experience,” Bonnie Knutson, a professor in the School of Hospitality Business in the Broad College of Business at Michigan State University, says. So, in an age when consumers want what they want, when they want it, it makes sense to cater to their needs and provide a positive customer experience.

The more positive interactions a dealership can have with their customers, the likelier they are to turn them into a customer for life. Opening the service department on Sundays may be your next step to increasing customer retention and revenue.

Establish Trust and Sell More F&I

By Staff Writer on January 8, 2018

The economy is strong. Both new and used vehicle sales for 2017 are poised to be higher than initially estimated.

At the point-of-sale, more often than not, customers neglect to invest in warranties and service contracts because they don’t want to expend that additional cost; after all, the economy is cruising, they’re gainfully employed and they know cars are being produced with greater efficiency. Therefore, a customer wants to keep the sticker price low and doesn’t want to extend the lengthy purchase time.

You can’t give up on these buyers though; it’s important for your revenue to come back to them after the sale.

Gabe Garroni, vice president of sales at Ally Insurance, states “…three years into owning that car, everything changes. Service contracts become more important.”

If you don’t communicate with your customers after the sale, you lose the opportunity to sell them on F&I products that benefit your bottom line and their enjoyment of the vehicle you sold them.

Garroni suggests finding the right partners to help maintain communication lines with your vehicle buyers. That’s the precise intention of OneClick Loyalty; a platform designed to engage customers, build a relationship and foster a digital journey to entice repeat sales and service.

Once wary of dealership protection plans, the consumer is more open to the idea now than previously. “Consumers today are more comfortable than ever with the idea of protection plans,” Garroni says. Protection plans are sold, and used, for items such as smart phones and appliances. Having one for your vehicle too just makes sense.

F&I products succeed best when they are demonstrably in the customer’s best interest and delivered at the most relevant time. That’s why it’s important to communicate at key intervals with a clear demonstration of the value prop of the protection plan or product.

Protection plans are more important and relevant than ever. A record number of used cars were sold in Q2 2017, and with newer-model used vehicles, a protection plan is important to preventing long-term costly repairs. Ensuring your customers have established trust with you will help open them up to the idea of purchasing a protection plan through your F&I department.

Through personalization and proactive engagement, your customers will not only be more willing to open emails from you, but receptive to the information, such as F&I products, as well.

Are Your Employees Invested in Your Technology Upgrade?

By Staff Writer on December 18, 2017

After investing a considerable amount of money in upgrades to technology designed to make workers more productive, most dealerships are not seeing their numbers jump at all.

Over the past 40 years, the statistics are virtually unmoved:

  • Sales associates average 10 retail sales per month
  • Technicians average 40 hours per week

The answer isn’t more technology, but the right technology.

So, if you’re investing money into a CRM system, a system designed to manage relationships and turn leads into sales, how much of it are you actually using?

  • 43 percent of dealers use fewer than half the features they pay for!
  • 72 percent would be willing to give up extra features to have a system that is easier to use.

The problem is multifaceted. It’s complicated to use, there are too many features and difficulty in training are just a few examples on why a considerable portion of your investment is going unused.

If technology is complex and the training is time-consuming, then employees are averse to using it. They fall back on old, “tried-and-true” tactics that equate to similar outcomes: 10 retail sales/month.

With so much focus on digital communications and customer experiences, it has never been easier to remain in contact with your customers. But dealers want a cost-effective, comprehensive solution, not just a point solution for staying in touch with car buyers. After all, the cost for conquest is considerably more than retention. After-sales communication is key to retention in both sales and service. A customer bringing their vehicle in for service is far likelier to purchase their next vehicle at that dealership.

“Staying in touch digitally with sales and service customers is an opportunity to interact with thousands of people in an inexpensive way,” states Steve Finlay, WardsAuto.

With OneClick Loyalty, we provide the ease-of-use and ability to stay in contact with customer post-sales. Designed by dealers, for dealers, OneClick Loyalty reduces marketing costs while delivering a personalized experience to customers. You sign up and we do the rest. OneClick Loyalty is a customer relationship platform that you’ll actually use.

Do Your Customers Know Why OEM Parts Matter?

By Staff Writer on December 11, 2017

Who do you work for?

Depending on who you ask at the dealership, you may come across a few different answers, even when asking the owner.

But in order to find consistent success, the answer has to be the customer.

The Best Body Shop in Wichita, Kan., recently posted a video explaining the depth in which they take care of the customer. Insurance companies insist that body shops use after-market parts because they are cheaper but maintain the same quality. This body shop, fed up at being forced to use substandard parts, took to the Internet.

In the video, Clay Hoberecht, owner of Best Body Shop, repairs a vehicle to the exact specification the insurance company asked and demonstrates in a very hands-on way how these specifications do not hold up to OEM parts.

Hoberecht states, “We as a body shop are bound to repair your car according to OEM procedures, not according to how the insurance tells us.” He adds, “We work for you, and you alone.”

This video brings up two questions:

  1. Do your customers know you’re looking out for their best interests?

It would be easy to assume that having the lowest prices and helping to get a car buyer into a new vehicle is all one needs to succeed. But we all know that’s not the case.

Customers today expect service and they’re willing to be loyal to a company that proves they want to deliver on good service consistently.

Studies by thought leaders across the spectrum have indicated, time and again, that personalization is a key indicator to delivering personal care. Personalization in communication increases both open rates and revenue, but also shows the customer that you care about them individually, and thus personalizing the message. As customers bring their vehicles in for service, taking time to explain and discuss the issues with the vehicle builds trust between customer and dealership.

“Overall, to increase trust between car buyers and dealerships, the industry needs to shift from a transactional, product-driven approach to a customer-centric approach,” states Greg Carrasco, President of GTA Hyundai Dealerships.

  1. Do your customers understand why using OEM parts, and factory-certified technicians, actually makes a difference?

Part of providing a high level of customer service is ensuring the customer gets what they paid for. Across the board, repairs using OEM parts often exceed the cost of using after-market options.

Just as how in the video from Best Body Shop clearly illustrates the benefits, a dealership’s service advisor also needs to explain to a customer why they are paying more and how it’s an upside for maintaining the value of the car to performance.

Additionally, cost differences are often due to the amount of training and expertise going into the employee working in your service center. Factory-certified technicians who work solely on the manufacturer’s vehicles means more expertise and familiarity.

Time and again, customers are willing to pay more for high-quality, professional work with OEM parts; as long as they understand why it costs more. It’s the dealership’s responsibility to explain.


Implementing a platform like OneClick Loyalty personalizes the customer experience and helps build trust. This means they are more inclined to listen when you explain the benefits of OEM parts and using your technicians, as well as giving you the opportunity to show how you have the customer’s best interests at heart.