Auto dealer boosts customer loyalty by ending out-of-state drop-offs

At the end of 2018, Alderman’s Chevrolet-Buick-GMC instituted a new policy: All deliveries would move in-house, and service customers would drop off and retrieve their vehicles in the service lane.

Taking inspiration from a General Motors advertisement, Alderman had signs made up for customers to hold while standing next to their newly purchased vehicles with slogans such as, “We switched to Alderman’s” and “We stayed with Alderman’s.” Employees would take photos of the customers and tag them in posts on the dealership’s Facebook page.

The result? Higher loyalty rates and lower costs. Alderman said he doesn’t regret the change, even when the pandemic forced dealerships to close in spring 2020 and sent customers online seeking dwindling inventory.

The inside of Alderman’s Chevrolet-Buick-GMC closed for two months, and customers took delivery in the store’s parking lot during April and May last year. The dealership, which uses Darwin Automotive software for digital retailing, was able to have most vehicle purchase paperwork completed online ahead of delivery.

Dealership employees would also use Zoom to video chat with customers and go through paperwork together. Sales employees created videos to demonstrate vehicle features since they could no longer sit in the vehicle with customers and show them firsthand.

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