Getting our new customers through the door, keeping them coming back and making the most of them while they’re with us is more and more important in a competitive tyre market. Here are a few ways we can breed loyalty and foster up-sell with our customers.
1. Google My Business and recommendations.
When we search online we get recommendations, usually from Google, and we can claim our business in Google and make changes and additions (like opening hours, adding services, etc.). These appear front and centre in search results and a lot of people are swayed by positive ratings and recommendations by our previous customers.
An incentive to ‘give us a recommendation’ can be a good one, especially if you can give something away to encourage people to take part – how about something like free, branded, hanging air fresheners with ‘Like what we do? Give us a review!’ (and the social channels) written on it? A simple sign in the waiting area can offer a push to ‘Support Your Local’ Garage and getting our staff to rate us on Google Business is a great start.
You can also add posts to your Business Profile, which are like ‘social media posts’ or ‘mini-ads’ that show up in peoples search result and on Google Maps. It’s well worth highlighting those deals or offers here.
2. Get online!
When people search locally, they’re also served a bunch of listings of local dealers. If you have a website and you want to be top of the list, you’ll need to take professional advice on how to do so. Most people, especially anyone under the age of 55, use search engines to find products, services, deals and recommendations. You’ll need a website, obviously, but you’ll also need to update it with your services, blog content and offers – Google loves fresh content.
Google is looking for pages that contain high-quality, relevant information about whatever the potential customer is looking for. They determine relevance by ‘crawling’ (or reading) our website content and deciding, using algorithms, if our content is specifically related to what the searcher is looking for, mostly based on the keywords it comprises and how and where they appear (like in titles, etc.). They determine ‘quality’ in several ways and part of this involves the number (and – most importantly – the quality) of other websites that link to our site and to individual pages.
If the only sites that link to our tyre dealership are blogs that no one else has linked to, and another tyre sales site has links from trusted places that are linked to frequently, like CNN.com, our site will be assumed to be lower quality – and therefor ranked lower in Googles listings – than our competition.
Budgets vary, usually with a set-up spend then a monthly maintenance spend but talk to a reputable SEO (search engine optimisation) company. Expect to pay up to £800 a month, all in for a six-month contract. Take advice. They’ll help you optimise your site, get the right keywords and find good inbound linking opportunities. Getting ranked can make a real difference.
3. Deals, deals, deals.
It’s an old-school classic but being cheaper than the competition is an obvious draw. Some things are obvious if you have winter tyre deals ready in October and November (and advertise them accordingly) then that’s an obvious draw. Maybe you could offer something else, such as striking a deal with a local attraction or car wash for mutual support via vouchers? Look at your local contacts, but make sure it’s of value to your customers. Maybe you could offer a loyalty scheme? “Buy four tyres and get a free wheel alignment check!” Try to keep it car related and seasonal if possible and make sure they get seen across all your touch points.
4. That giant gorilla.
It’s all about making yourself front of mind and standing out. I remember my partner telling me she visited a tyre dealership in Nottingham for the first time because she passed every day and it had a giant, inflatable, Mr Bibendum – an obvious industry symbol. Wobbly armed inflatables, painted forecourts, blimps, balloons and colourful signs are icons of the retail tyre industry for a reason. Forecourt real estate is there to be used. Stand out from the crowd.
Ok, this doesn’t work as obviously for high-end branded dealerships, but that big brand sign, a few balloons for our new reg event and everything associated with it makes up for a lot of gorilla.
5. Make a waiting experience.
While writing this I asked my colleges when made them use a particular tyre dealership and one of them in particular sited four reasons: “They have a telly, plenty of seats, free wi-fi and free coffee.” This is more common than we might think.
If our customer has a negative waiting experience why would they put themselves through that again?
In surveys it’s often stated, by female customers, that they specifically prefer to wait in an are away from main workshops are where they don’t feel observed or scrutinised by garage employees. A quality brand MUST offer a quality experience, but even a small store who wants repeat tyre sales must make the experience feel comfortable, personal and painless – they may have to wait in a garage, but they don’t want to feel like they’re waiting in a garage. They want a clean, dry, safe place to surf the internet, read their book, watch some daytime TV, leaf through a complimentary magazine or catch up on some banter/gossip with a friend. They want a comfortable experience.
Why do I get my car serviced in the dealership? Because my daughter comes with me to read the magazines and to eat their cucumber sandwiches and I can chat to her and work on the wi-fi.
Consumers can now engage with us in our dealership, through a website or mobile app, through a catalogue, or through social media. They can look at our (or our competitors) products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary so that customers to pick up where they left off on one channel and continue the experience on another. This is what customers now expect, especially our millennial buyers who have grown up with online technology and the internet of things.
Getting this right can achieve a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention rate (on average), compared to organizations without omnichannel programs. Yes, it’s expensive but worth considering and doesn’t have to be complicated – just coordinated. Organisations also average a 3.4% increase in customer lifetime value (the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer), while those without omnichannel programs reduce customer lifetime value by .7% year-over-year.
7. Easy up-sell.
There is always an opportunity for upsell and on-the-spot sales. Our custom JDGE/Sigmavision TreadReader offers tread depth readings for tyres and can instantly flag up the symptoms of worn suspension or wheel misalignment, as your customers drive onto the forecourt or into the service bay. This can increase tyre sales by as much as 46% and document the status of a vehicle – saving thousands a year in (possibly fraudulent) damage claims – while attributing it to a licence plate number. Even the hand-held version is an excellent ‘free service’ offering for your customers and is amazingly simple to use with strong, easy to understand results. Millennial customers trust technology over people when reading tyre depth and condition.
At a basic level price point it’s possible to recover any spend in three months, in up-sell alone.
It’s worth looking at the added value of Wheel Washers, too. While prevalent on the continent they’re a great way to stand out from other tyre services here in the UK, offering the customer completely clean wheels back on their car.
8. Recommend a friend?
While there are many variations on referral campaigns, the core idea is that you provide some sort of incentive for your happy customers to share the word about you to their friends. Many tyre sales are still a word of mouth purchase. How about giving each customer a key fob style voucher to pass on to a friend? First one’s a discount then we’ve got them hooked.
Whatever tyre dealers, dealerships and garages do to stand out it’s important we embrace the future and future sales methods. The tools may have changed but we’ll always need to foster loyalty and encourage up-sell with our customers.