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On Any Given Day, 75 Percent Are Repeat Customers

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Article Highlights:

  • Engagement is providing a positive, memorable experience.
  • Repeat business comes from focusing on engagement.

If you’ve ever been to a Disney Park or on a Disney Cruise, you’ll know why people often leave reviews like these:

  • “That’s what memories are made of”
  • “So good we are going again next year”
  • “Excellent !!!”

Disney gets this kind of response because it does a masterful job of creating customer engagement at every single consumer touch point.

Whether you’re buying an item in one of their retail stores, walking through a Disney park, or sailing on one of their cruise ships, every experience is designed to be engaging, entertaining, and memorable.

Even their janitorial staff is empowered and willing to create unique consumer experiences.

And it works. On any given day, 75 percent of the guests in a Disney park are repeat customers.1

If that kind of consumer engagement is something you’d like to get better at, here are three ways you can get started:

1. Manage the Experience, not Just the Relationship

Customer Relationship Management has long been a focus of car dealerships, and there’s still a huge place for CRM in our industry. Salespeople need to cultivate relationships over time, and a good CRM tool is the best way to do that.

How you cultivate your relationships, that’s where Customer Experience Management comes in. Done well, a dealership will be a master at both CRM and CEM.

Step one is simply making it a priority to include the customer’s experience in your planning, the same way you do with the customer relationship. That way the customer feels appreciated over time through your CRM efforts, and appreciated in the near term through CEM, any time he or she is actively looking for a new vehicle.

2. Personalize Everything You Can

What if you could personally greet customers who entered your service drive, by name? It’s entirely possible, thanks to recent RFID technology.

Whenever you can, and in whatever way you can, use the data you have to greet customers by name, and provide a personalized shopping experience for them.

3. Engage People the Way They Want to be Engaged

I have a daughter in college right now. When I call her on her cell phone, 95% of the time, this is what happens:

  • She doesn’t answer.
  • 30 seconds later I’ll get a text from her that says, “What’s up?”

It drives me crazy sometimes. I cannot understand why she doesn’t just answer the phone when I call.

But that’s not her way.

She and her friends text each other far more than they call. And most calls happen only after a series of text messages have been exchanged first.

We Baby Boomers and Gen Xers may shake our heads at the crazy Gen Y crowd and their resistance to our telephone ways. Honestly, some of us are picking up these habits too as we adapt to their style.

But if you haven’t noticed, Gen Y is growing up. The oldest of them are in their 30s now. Pretty soon, they will be the biggest market for new vehicles, which means you need to be thinking about how they prefer to communicate, since that’s ultimately what you want them to do with you.

If people prefer text or email you as their first contact with your dealership, don’t be afraid to provide that option to them.


Efficient: doing things faster. Effective: doing things better. Engagement: providing a positive, memorable experience.

These are the three levers world class dealerships are currently focused on.

Doing all three well will require a different approach to your business. You’ll need the right people, the right training, and the right tools to empower them.

1 The Portable MBA, Robert Bruner

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Vice President, Sales, Reynolds and Reynolds

Keith Hill was vice president of Sales for Reynolds and Reynolds, leading the U.S. Systems Sales organization. During his over 16-year career at Reynolds, Hill gained a breadth of industry and dealership experience, having served in service, training, and sales leadership roles.

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