- Written by Suzanne Sills
A study conducted by Gartner Research reveals that a customer list that is not maintained deteriorates by 2% per month, becoming a major obstacle to the success of various retention strategies implemented by any company.
It used to be sufficient to check the customers’ contact information when they came to the dealership to ensure the accuracy of the information. And this process was relatively simple: "Your address is still... and your home phone number is ..."
Since then, the market has become very dynamic, promotional initiatives have multiplied and your data may come from other sources than the service department and thus be used by several "players."
Below is a list of sources of data on your customers:
- Your sales management system (F&I), which is sometimes independent of the dealership and of which the contact data is rarely updated.
- The manufacturer, which makes its own list of customers via sales, claims or others.
- An external firm, which organizes a one-time event based on a list of customers that you have provided, and which subsequently obtains data changes.
- An external loyalty program, which also collects changes.
Regardless of the source of these changes, it is imperative to make updates in your company’s various systems; otherwise, they will surely create confusion.
We have tried to rebuild a start-up customer base for certain dealers with a new sales system, using lists from several sources. The differences in the data were astonishing. But which ones were right? We were very confused. In short, preserving the status quo means large amounts of money lost, unsuccessful efforts to build customer loyalty and unnecessary spending.