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True Stories: “I just don’t feel a tie to them.”

Customer venn diagram
Article Highlights:

  • Follow-up and relationship building mean a lot to Generation Y.
  • "They wouldn't be my go to. I just don't feel a tie to them."

The secret to turning a Gen Y buyer into a loyal customer might not be too far off from any other customer who comes through your door, but you have to make sure it happens every time with every buyer.

I sat down to talk with Sarah, a typical Generation Y buyer, about her recent car purchase. The overall buying experience was great; however, the dealership fell short in one key area that resulted in losing Sarah as a customer forever.

Find out what major mistake turned Sarah into a one-time buyer rather than a lifelong customer.

Where did you start your car buying or shopping process?

I started out online. I looked at pretty much every single model on all the different dealer websites like Ford and Hyundai. I was comparing prices, features, mpg – all kinds of stuff.

Once I narrowed it down to a couple I really liked, I actually wrote down all the different comparison items. This was my first time buying so I wanted to get it right!

How many different websites did you visit?

Probably 20 different websites, about half of those were actual manufacturer sites and the other half were dealership websites to see what inventory they had.

After browsing around 10 dealership sites, how many did you end up visiting?

Well, I went to an auto mall area where there were 6-8 dealerships. I went to each of those to look around but only test drove at one of them and that’s the one I ended up buying from! They had exactly what I was looking for – price, year, and details – so I got it.

What was your experience like at that dealership?

It turned out okay. I was skeptical at first because the sales person didn’t come out right away. We actually had to go and find someone to help us.

Once we found someone though it was a breeze! I told him exactly what I wanted and what I’d seen on their website. They had a large selection so he walked me around and showed me different features and details about each one.

Finally, I test drove one and we started talking about price and payments.

How did you feel about the sales process, signing the papers, and the Finance office?

It was very boring. We sat in the waiting area while he got my paperwork ready and finalized everything.

The sales person himself was boring too. He didn’t have any enthusiasm. This was my first time buying a car so I was really excited but he was kind of bringing me down.

As for Finance, I didn’t even go in there that day. I had to come back a couple of days later.

How did you feel about having to come back in?

It was actually a relief. We’d already been at the dealership for two hours and I didn’t really want to be there any longer. When I came back they’d had time to get the Finance paperwork ready so I was pretty much in and out.

How was this dealership’s follow-up process?

Uh… there wasn’t one! I’ve heard about friends and family getting coupons and emails and things with service discounts from their dealership, but I haven’t gotten anything.

I went there for my first oil change but haven’t gone back since. I certainly would though, if they had built a relationship and communicated with me better.

Do you think you’d go back there if you start looking for another car?

I don’t know. I might check out their inventory, but they wouldn’t be my go to. I just don’t feel a tie to them.


You heard it from Sarah, “I certainly would though, if they had built a relationship and communicated with me better.”

Generation Y likes to make connections and feel valued. Something as simple as a follow-up email with some service information might have made Sarah a life-time customer instead of a one-time buyer.

Does your dealership struggle with customer follow-up? Contact Reynolds Consulting Services to find out how their custom consulting can help.

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Director, Brand Marketing, Reynolds and Reynolds

Ashley is Director of Marketing Communications for Reynolds and Reynolds. In her 10 years with Reynolds, she has managed the marketing strategy for several key Reynolds solutions and branding initiatives. Today, she leads the U.S. and Canadian marketing teams to drive brand awareness, product penetration, and content strategy for Reynolds and other key brands within the Reynolds Retail Management System.

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