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 …

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Where to Find Your Best Leads

By Staff Writer on October 9, 2017

It’s not news that it costs 8-10x more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current customer yet dealerships continue to pour 22 percent of their budget into marketing; most of which is geared toward conquest.

Conquest leads, especially those generated from the Internet, are often dead-ends. Dealerships today are inundated with massive amounts of ‘customer’ leads of both suspect origin and quality.

One place you can be sure to mine for quality high ROI leads, however, is your existing customer base.

Here are 3 areas where dealerships can focus to generate leads, raise retention rates and increase revenue from existing customers.

Your Best Leads Are Existing Customers


The great thing about leases is you know exactly when the customer will need a new vehicle. It’s truly one of your best leads.

Unfortunately, only about half of dealerships actually communicate with their customer during the lease period and struggle to keep the customer when it’s time to turn in the car. The customer often receives their lease package at the beginning and that’s the last piece of engagement between the lessee and dealership.

When met with wear-and-tear fees, overage charges and a lack of understanding of the lease-end process, the customer is confused, frustrated and upset which leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

Lease from there again? No way!

J.D. Power and Associates suggests, dealers and lenders should give customers lease-end information including wear-and-tear charges, how to buy the vehicle and pre-inspections at the start of the lease as well as near the end.

“Consumers that walk out of the dealership fully informed, [with] the terms and conditions, are much more satisfied,” says Jim Houston, senior director of J.D. Power’s auto finance practice.

Reminders and communication throughout the lease term allow a dealership to fully engage and increase the likelihood of retention.


What if you knew what your customers intended to do upon lease-end or as they continue paying off their vehicle. By maintaining communication with the customer, you can learn if they are in the market for a new vehicle while their current vehicle is in equity or if your current lease customer intends to purchase or lease their next vehicle.

Equity puts both the dealership and the customer in a prime spot. Customers in equity will find it’s advantageous to sell or trade in their vehicle and dealerships can leverage this position to sell a customer a new car while acquiring a used car, most likely with low mileage, that they can resell.

It’s a win-win for both parties.

If you know the customer is starting to look for a new vehicle, you can have your sales team follow up with them and educate the customer on incentives, promotions and deals to steer their decision to your dealership.

One of the best ways to retain a customer is to make them decide on purchasing or leasing a car from you before they even begin to look elsewhere.

Knowing their intentions puts you ahead of the competition.


What better lead generator than to have the customer bring it right to you?

When a dealership provides a high-level of service and an emotional connection with the customer, they are more likely to recommend your dealership to their friends and family.

Most people are on the lookout for a service center they can rely on and a dealership that is easy to work with when purchasing a car; a referral means your customers are vouching for you and telling those in their social network that you can be trusted.


OneClick Loyalty makes retention easy and cost-effective. With targeted communication and by delivering the right messages at the right time, dealerships can take advantage of the platform’s data to acquire reliable leads and focus on retention and referrals to drive revenue.

Are You Ready for the Downturn? Be Prepared with Service

By Staff Writer on September 26, 2017

“The U.S. auto industry’s seven fat years of rising new-vehicle sales are over,” claims David Kushma, Deputy Editor of Fixed Ops Journal.

In his commentary, Kushma cites the gruesome predictions for sales numbers in 2017, 2018 and 2019 — U.S. sales of new cars are trucks are going to fall.

Estimates show that over 2 million less vehicles will be sold in 2019 than in 2016 averaging almost 10 cars per month, per dealership. Amid falling sales, dealerships must emphasize service unless they can afford to sell 100+ less cars per year.

How do you entice customers to bring their car in for service?

You can do direct mail and hope the coupon lands in the mailbox the day before a customer needs an oil change or you can blast out emails hoping that your message gets seen and opened — and then wish the recipient needs that service at that time. But this scattershot approach removes a personalized approach that the customer demands. Timing and relevance of the message is everything if you want to drive behavior and not cause communication fatigue with customers.

OneClick Loyalty is designed to deliver the right message at the right time via personal owner websites direct from the dealership. And that message tells the customer about your dealership and why they should return for service offering them the right functionality and conveniences that brings them back.

Service is a $99 billion opportunity for dealerships to engage with customers and offer a level of service they can’t get anywhere else.

Service starts on the dealership’s digital properties such as their website or social media. It is almost certain that a customer will visit a dealership’s digital properties prior to bringing their vehicle in. They’re looking for a variety of information including pricing and coupons, reviews, service scheduler, as well as amenities such a shuttle service or free WiFi.

In a recent webinar hosted by Automotive News titled: “Turn One-Time Visitors into Lifetime Customers – The $99 Billion Opportunity,” the speaker, Jim Roche, mentioned how necessary it was for a dealership to put the cost for services right on the webpage. He compared the lack of a price to buying an airplane ticket online not knowing the cost, going to the airport and then finding out the price you have to pay after boarding your flight.

It’s hard to compete with the third-party service centers and quick lube spots that offer oil changes right now for $20.

But it’s proven that people will pay more for better service. In fact, 53% of consumers expect dealerships to offer higher quality service; those consumers are also willing to pay 10-15% more for dealership work.

The expected downturn provides dealerships with the opportunity to show off their service bays. It will keep revenue steady and initiate a springboard for turning car buyers into customers for life.

With OneClick Loyalty, dealerships can compete with the service centers and provide a better customer experience throughout the ownership lifecycle.

The Easy Money You Aren’t Making

By Staff Writer on September 6, 2017

It’s no longer news that most dealerships lose money on the sale of a vehicle and try to make up the losses in F&I and service.

What about accessories?

Accessories are a $40 billion per year industry with consumers spending money on everything from steering wheel covers to floor mats to bike racks.

Dealerships only realize 8% of it, meaning there is over $36 billion being spent elsewhere.

It’s time for dealerships to grasp onto the lucrative accessories category to significantly increase profits.

Where to Begin?

If you’re advertising accessories and want to help people decide what might be best for their vehicle, think about where you live.

Accessories are not universally popular, but rather, can be determined based on region. On a cold, wintry day in Michigan, offer heated seats – many chilly consumers wouldn’t mind the added comfort. For Arizona residents, tinted windows may be the way to go, plus you can ensure they comply with the law regarding how dark windows can be.

Here are some of the most popular accessories found intermittently in the top 5 best sellers throughout the United States:

  • Floor Mats – Ranked 1st or 2nd in almost every region
  • Window Tints – Popular in the south and west, as well as portions of the Midwest
  • Alarms and Recovery – These rank on the lists but don’t encompass the top spot. Besides keeping the vehicle safe, most insurances will offer a 10% discount on the comprehensive coverage premium when cars are outfitted with a theft-deterrent.


What if you knew how to help your customers get the accessories they need based on their interests? Most car buyers will purchase from you then get the add-ons they want at a later time somewhere else.

But, what if you knew they loved biking or skiing or surfing or drove long distances on open highways? This means you could make your message relevant to your customer. What good is offering a ski rack if they don’t like skiing? How beneficial might a hood shield be for those who want a higher level of protection against bugs and stones?

There are many ways to find out what the customer would need added to their car. A salesperson should be able to get some information from the customer simply by asking what they like to do for fun. However, if you are not able to acquire this information or you want to offer accessories to existing customers, a survey can provide the answers.

Simple surveys asking to identify areas of interests or driving patterns can provide a dealership with the right tools to sell accessories.

In a world where everyone wants to be unique and customize just about everything to fit their lifestyle and interests, you can provide the means to help them meet their needs. Car seat covers, interior accessories, even license plate frames can help increase a customer’s excitement level for their vehicle.


OneClick Loyalty gives the dealership a personal approach to engaging with the customer. With surveys and promotions right on the customer’s personal website and tailored to that individual, a dealership can learn more about their customers and increase retention by offering the types of products and services that speak to them.

Erasing the Stigma That Dealers Are Untrustworthy When It Comes to Vehicle Service

By Staff Writer on August 29, 2017

“Customers believe they will be overcharged, labor costs are too high and they won’t get an accurate estimate of the total cost up front.” – Richard Truett, Fixed Ops Journal, June 19, 2017

There is a stigma that dealership service centers rip off customers. If there is a silver lining to the dealer service “stigma” cloud,” it’s that many people feel the same way about independent car repair shops and chain store service centers.

Pull up any forum regarding dealership service and you will find customers angrily venting, while others praise dealerships as the only place they’ll go for service.

You’re Not Alone

There is a reputation out there regarding mechanics, just like there is for almost any other business.

Lawyers are thought to be conniving, unethical and will do anything to win. But I’m sure we all know good ones we trust and believe are honest people. Politicians lie, cheat, steal and pander for votes. But there are many on all levels who are in it to honestly serve their community.

And service managers and mechanics? They prey on just about anyone because they know the inter-workings of the engine and most people don’t.

Fight Back

The first step is to accept the stigma exists.

Now, you can be the exception to the rule.

When you have a reliable, honest service center, you can be the place that your customers suggest to friends and family. Referrals are the best form of advertising and having a customer advocate who trusts you with their closest friends is the perfect way to increase retention and boost revenue.

Most likely you are honest and you run a good shop, so how do you ensure word gets spread?

Ask your customers via digital engagement to:

  • Refer friends and family
  • Leave positive reviews
  • Rate their service experience via social media
  • Take a simple customer satisfaction survey

Gauging Your Customers

You may think you’re doing a great job, but it’s critical to understand the customer perception from their service experience. Suggested repairs may be viewed as fishy or an interaction with a service rep or mechanic slip up could signal trouble.

With OneClick Loyalty, you can easily find out what worked for the customer and what didn’t. Not only can your customer receive a follow-up service satisfaction survey, engagement can also encourage positive reviews, let managers know negative feedback immediately, and put a human connection between your dealership and customers.

Proactive engagement has been proven to increase retention rates and revenue. Fight the stigma and win with OneClick Loyalty.

Why You Should Sponsor Local Sports to Increase Retention

By Staff Writer on August 22, 2017

The peak of excitement for a car buyer is the moment they drive their new vehicle off the lot. What better feeling is there for a customer than to drive away with something better and newer than what they arrived in. The emotions are high!

Sports is all about emotions too. The highs of championships, the tribal feeling of belonging to a group and the loyalty one has toward their favorite team or school.

There are obvious benefits of having a presence in the local community but it can also provide free publicity, boost sales and increase retention. Best of all, it’s a welcoming marketing initiative – people can skip commercials but they can’t fast forward through “Your Dealership Name” on the front of a youth baseball jersey.

Car dealerships across the United States are seeing the benefits of sponsorship. Recently, the Brunswick Auto Mart in Ohio signed a 15-year contract as a sponsor for the high school field allowing maintenance and other costs to be covered so school dollars can be used for the classroom. A car dealership helping with education costs? Who wouldn’t want to support them?

Here are three ways that sponsoring sports can create a positive emotional experience with your dealership long after the customer drove off the lot.

  1. Positive Community Impact

As a local company, your dealership can show that it understands the needs of the community. When you sponsor a local sports team, event or field, you aren’t just advertising, you’re showing you know what’s important to the community and the benefits of team sports.

In an era where the consumer is looking for brands that go beyond sales and shows a positive impact in the world, your dealership will have a slew of customers who support you because you support what’s important to them.

  1. Additional Advertising

Car dealerships can also use the opportunities through sponsorship to increase their brand awareness and showcase new products.

Brand awareness could be anything from a name on the jersey to a billboard or ad on the scoreboard.

If you’re looking to showcase your inventory, you could bring cars to test drive or present the types of vehicles that may entice those in attendance of a sporting event. What better way to show the conveniences of a vehicle for transporting equipment and team members than having it available for all the parents to see?

In the case of Brunswick High School signing the 15-year contract, Athletic Director Pietro Demonte said, “(We) reached agreements with local auto dealers, helping the businesses reach newly-licensed students who might be in the market for a car.”

Sponsorships can also bring media mentions i.e. free advertising. When local newspapers and blogs write stories about the game or major sponsorship ventures, they share your involvement exposing you to more potential customers who are glad you are doing your part in the community.

  1. Cost Reduction

How much is a direct mail campaign? A commercial?

First of all, advertising via local sports sponsorships is considerably less expensive while enjoying considerable, consistent exposure to a market that is close in proximity to your dealership. By advertising through a direct and emotional means like sports, it gives your potential and current customers a connection to your business – more than almost any 30-second spot between local morning news segments could provide.

Second, there could be tax incentives. With many youth sports being listed as a non-profit group, your sponsorship could even be a means to a tax break.


According to NAYS, the National Alliance for Youth Sports, Inc, “What the company may find is that their sponsorship also goes a long way to strengthen the bond between their brand and their community.”

You don’t have to stop at the local youth sports level. There are many higher-level teams and sports eager to have you as their sponsor – Soccer clubs, minor league teams, and 5k races to name a few. Dealerships near major universities can often take advantage of sponsorship opportunities through the colleges or universities who, in turn, allow them to use the school logo on their advertising.

A sponsorship for a local sports team or event is a magnificent way to help retention rates. When a customer sees your car dealership taking an active role in the community, they are more likely to want to keep giving you business.

There is a reason the Detroit Lions play at Ford Field, the Anaheim Ducks play at the Honda Center and Toyota is the official vehicle of the Chicago Cubs – cars and sports go well together and car companies know that they can get their brand in front of tons of customers when they pay for sponsorships.

Your Customers Don’t Need You Anymore

By Staff Writer on August 8, 2017

The keys are handed over. The customer drives off the lot. The sales team celebrates another sale.

For most dealerships and customers, that’s the end of the relationship because, unless there is warranty work or a recall, the customer doesn’t need you anymore. At least not for 6 years, which is how long the average person keeps their car.

Within those 72 months, other dealerships will market to them and online car shopping will become a more practiced mode of car sales.

Will you see them for service? Probably not. Car buyers are happy to take their vehicle for service at one of the 250,000+ independent or chain service shops available across the U.S.

In fact, retention rates are 49% after just 1-2 service visits and drop off by 40% after the warranty expires.

In the past, radio and TV spots as well as direct mail, would help drive customers back to the dealership when it was time for a new car purchase. But in the new digital economy, 88% of dealers say they can no longer rely on traditional marketing to deliver customers.

How can a dealership sustain business in a world where conquests are harder to come by and service shops are on every corner?

Loyalty via aftersales service.

If the relationship between customer and dealership ends at the point-of-sale, the dealer is leaving behind $1,000s in aftersales service and the opportunity of enjoying true customer loyalty.

Customers want interaction and, in today’s digital world, it’s never been easier to engage with them in a personal way to make them feel valued. A little engagement goes a long way. With just 5 interactions a customer is:

  • 3x as likely to refer a friend
  • 6x likely to purchase a new car
  • 2x likely to return for service

Part of the solution is to give customers relevant information and messaging at the right time. What good is blasting a coupon for an oil change if most people won’t use it?

Strategic messaging encourages a customer to take advantage of dealership incentives and educate them on the benefits of bringing their car in for service at your dealership – including readily available maintenance records for a higher trade-in value. But you can also inform them about amenities exclusive to your dealership such as a clean and comfortable waiting room, shuttle service, free WiFi, kid-friendly waiting areas and more.

With a platform like OneClick Loyalty, the process is automated so you won’t have to consistently manage your customer communications.  Relevant messaging entices the customer to return by building a relationship versus generic direct mail and batch-and-blast emailing.

Your customers don’t need you anymore, that’s true. But by adopting OneClick Loyalty, your customers have a higher probability of coming back to you for service and future new car sales.

3 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Free Oil Change Program

By Staff Writer on August 1, 2017

Are you giving away free oil changes?

Many dealerships are offering a free oil change program to customers who purchase a new vehicle. Sometimes it’s the first one free and other times it’s free oil changes for life. When implemented properly, a free oil change program can drive loyalty while boosting revenue.

Whether you currently have a program in place or you’re considering one, here are 3 ways you can maximize a free oil change program to help raise loyalty and revenue.

  1. Find the Best Program for Your Dealership

Free oil changes for life worked well for the Priority Auto Group who saw retention rates and customer satisfaction rise, however, it was not an economically feasible path for the Lester Glenn Auto Group.

Regardless of the program, it is up to the dealership(s) to determine the best route forward to help guide their retention and customer experience.

The Lester Glenn Auto Group changed course from free oil changes for life and implemented a comprehensive program offering two years’ worth of free oil changes as well as other incentives to entice the cost-conscious consumer. According to Automotive News, since revamping their program they have increased their revenue $150,000 per month.

  1. Engage & Drive Retention

Personalized engagement has proven to lead to a greater likelihood that customers will return for service and refer you to a friend or family member.

One of the surprisingly best ways a dealership can increase retention rates and revenue is by simply offering a service scheduling feature.

Sending the message, “Schedule your free oil change” gets the customer engaging with you and promotes a positive interaction. When you send it at the right time, you are proving your commitment to a personalized and enhanced customer experience.

What good is a free oil change program as a sales tool if your customer isn’t taking advantage of it?

  1. Send Promotions When They Need It

Using the power of digital interaction also means delivering the ideal promotions to your customers when they would most likely use it. Say you wanted to give some loyal customers a coupon for a free oil change. Omnichannel marketing allows you to target them based on triggers and behaviors analyzed through various metrics.

What good is a free oil change now if a customer has another 2,500 miles until they need it?


With OneClick Loyalty, we utilize data and analytics to ensure our clients can reach their customers in a way that benefits all parties. For customers, they are receiving communications from the dealership regarding specific promotions and information at specific points in the product lifecycle. For the dealership, they are taking a proactive approach to enticing customers to come in for service.

A free oil change has the power to be a great tool to show the benefits of using your dealership for all their service needs. OneClick Loyalty is a long-term solution designed to steer the message to the customer and shift revenue growth into high gear.


The Customer is Always Right – Can You Handle the Truth?

By Staff Writer on July 25, 2017

For over 100 years, the motto “the customer is always right” has been used by countless businesses. And while it has been used to stress customer service in the past, it takes on a very different meaning into today’s socially connected world.

From a quick Google search, I found two reviews for the same dealership:

  • “I would not recommend this service department. They are either liars, incompetent, or both.” (The customer then explains the issue)
  • “I have been to a lot of dealers and by far this is the best one ever. The people are friendly and the technicians are the best in the business.”

Whether it’s a potential customer looking for sales or service, you should expect they will head to the web to see what previous customers thought about you. In fact, according to Vendasta:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion by reading just 1-3 reviews

When these potential buyers read reviews, they tend to believe the customer was right, even with bad reviews.

You would think bad reviews are, well, bad. But 95% of consumers suspect censorship or faked reviews when they don’t see any bad scores.

What is a dealership to do?

One of the best strategies is to be responsive to the feedback. A potential customer seeing that the business accepts the bad feedback and is willing to make it right means they are more trustworthy.

On top of that, the dealership can turn a publicly unhappy customer vowing never to return into one that will come back for sales and services.

It’s also a good idea to respond to the good feedback with a note of gratitude. This adds another level of engagement and shows that you are personalizing the entire customer experience.

As the automotive dealership industry shifts from a product-centric to a customer-centric model, reviews will become a larger part of the customer dynamic. And when they leave a review, good or bad, the customer is always right.

Proactively and positively engaging with the feedback will help drive customer retention and loyalty while showing that you are a business that cares.