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Implementation – the key to unlocking the power of a strong retention strategy – Key2Key case study

Pic credit: qimono at Pixabay

Before becoming Global Sales Director for Chrysalis Loyalty, Steve Fitzgerald was a customer of the Key2Key customer retention tool. His experience of implementing Key2Key for a major automotive brand revealed that even the most powerful system cannot be simply ‘plugged in’ and expected to deliver instantly optimal results. Instead there are real life variables which must be accommodated in the implementation phase to make the most of the tool and its underlying data.

He explains: “Key2Key offered – in theory – an almost automated solution to retaining and renewing customers without the need to manually calculate where each one was in the renewal cycle. We quickly found out that there was more to it than simply running the tool, calling the customers and saying ‘you’re in a great position to change with little or no change in your monthly payment’.

“For example, we initially found that we were only able to set one appointment for every 15 people we contacted. And only half of those people were going on to buy a car. We quickly learned that we needed to focus closely on the ‘soft skills’ necessary for handling calls and change the objective of the call itself.

“It was becoming clear that immediately talking numbers on the phone risks immediately descending into a wrangle over the part-exchange valuation. Setting unsustainable expectations in the initial call was also common mistake and we realised that this could stem from ill thought out alignment between incentives and outcomes. If the outbound caller is incentivised only on persuading the customer to attend a meeting and has no stake in the eventual appointment they will tend to exaggerate the customer’s advantages, only to set them up for a disappointment.

“The solution was training our callers to focus only on setting the appointment for a face-to-face discussion, without setting expectations. The ratio of appointments made rose to 70% of customers contacted, with 90% actually attending the showroom. And by leaving the dealer fully in control of the discussion of the details around any possible deal available for the customer we began to achieve a conversion rate of 80% into a new car.

“Working this back to the original number of customers initially called the contact to sale ratio rose to 50%. By focusing on training and fine-tuning the quality of every point of customer contact all the way to the reception of the customer arriving in the showroom, we created a sustainable and replicable approach. These lessons now help us implement the Chrysalis process without the pain of inventing it from scratch. The benefits are enjoyed at every level. The manufacturer sells more cars than it otherwise would – typically three cars in six years to a customer instead of two while also maintaining market share and insulating itself from conquest sales by competitors.

“The dealer increases revenue and profit by selling more cars, with sales staff commensurately rewarded more. The more rapid turnover of agreements means the finance company increases the value its portfolio and retains more customers. And, importantly, the customer who wishes to enjoy the benefit of changing into a new car more regularly is happier and consequently more likely to stick with the brand and dealer over time. Perhaps the most remarkable measure of success, however, was the emergence of in-bound calls from customers who had already been through the new renewal process previously and were now anticipating a repeat of the experience. Those customers were also often prepared to put money into a new deal, such was the goodwill generated by their previously agreeable and satisfying experience of changing their car.”

This case study was first published in Auto Retail Profit

More customer retention best practice advice for automotive brands, funders and retailers is available in the free Chrysalis Loyalty white paper. Download it from  www.chrysalisloyalty.com/white-paper/

 

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Customer renewals driving dealer business growth – a Key2Key case study

Alison Roberts – Renewals Centre Manager, Swansway

Customer renewals are too often overlooked as a central strand in a motor retail business’s growth strategy. There can be many reasons for this. It may be that times are good for the business and a plentiful supply of new customers is keeping sales staff busy. This is when positive external economic forces can distract everyone from the value inherent in renewals. However, even when a business has a defined customer renewals strategy in place, our research suggests that it can under-perform simply through missing the opportunities around the very best moments for customer contact. Rigorous processes can also fail to deliver simply due to the wrong staff being tasked to implement them.

We recently published research revealing that it is not as unusual as it should be for a customer renewal strategy to result in only one sale for every ten or even 20 customers contacted. But when a renewal strategy is implemented well, with the right people delivering it, the results can be spectacular. So it is with Swansway, a dealer group concentrated across the north west and selling 13 brands. At Swansway a combination of the Chrysalis Loyalty Key2Key system for understanding the optimal timing based on the customer’s financial position and the available offers to enable them to change car along with a highly skilled call centre team nurturing the strongest customer relationships delivers best-in-class results with one sale to every 1.4 customers contacted.

Alison Roberts heads a team of five, focused exclusively on Swansway’s customer renewals. And last year they brought in 800 sales for the franchise brands with which they are supplied the Key2Key data and dashboard system. Their success stems from a combination of clearly defined process with ‘soft skills’ so effective that many customers are on first name terms with the team – who are also regularly fielding inbound calls from people anticipating the renewal process.

A sign of Swansway’s understanding of the value of such skills is that Alison had no prior background in car sales when she began building the team. Today, with the advice and help of Chrysalis Loyalty, the team is delivering best-of-breed results. Although Key2Key provides unrivalled insight into the options for renewal at very specific moments in a customer’s contract, the strength of the Swansway strategy stems from a holistic approach to the long-term customer relationship.

She explains: “Three years ago we began making calls at two, eight and 14 months, just to keep in touch and understand what their needs are.  Even if we can see they are not in a great position now we can get a clearer understanding of where they will be in the future. They are never surprised to receive the calls because we give the customer a booklet when they first buy their car, explaining how we will maintain contact with them and why. It’s very softly softly, with no hard sell and the customers appreciate it. They may have had problems with something like pairing phones with their car and we help them with things like that. Only about a third of the calls we make are with the intention of setting a renewal appointment.

Alison Roberts (2nd from left), with members of the Swansway renewals team.

“Key2Key shows us exactly where they are in terms of their opportunity to change and in the cases of brands where we do not have the Key2Key data it is a much less qualified call – more a stab in the dark. Having insight into the customer’s exact position also gives us as callers more confidence and so those calls are more professional. It means there is no risk of wasting their time and that means our own time is spent more efficiently too.

“One brand just took Key2Key and we have literally been able to move on from using a spreadsheet and a phone to manage those customer contacts to a clear window on where they are in their contract and their opportunities to renew.

“We also use Key2Key as a communication tool between sites, sharing notes about the customers, vehicles they are potentially interested in, or if they have a life change that necessitates changing their car. Everybody who has access to Key2Key understands that customer.

“Many customers now know us by name and the conversations are very pleasant and friendly because they trust us to have their interests at heart. Even people who are a little wary about why we are calling them at first are happy with the contact when they understand what is happening. We have even started to receive inbound calls, now that customers know us, asking when they can have a chat about their renewal.”

This case study was first published in Auto Retail Profit.

More advice from Chrysalis Loyalty on how to implement a transformational customer renewal strategy is available in the recently published white paper ‘How to create loyal customers and drive real growth in sales and profitability: A Chrysalis Loyalty guide to best practice for automotive brands, funders and retailers’. The white paper can be downloaded, free, from www.chrysalisloyalty.com/white-paper/

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Chrysalis Loyalty steps up integration with best-of-breed 3rd party systems through its open API

A DRIVE to integrate more 3rd party systems with the open API of Chrysalis Loyalty’s Key2Key customer retention system has been announced.

Chrysalis says the move will enable its dealer and captive finance customers to dramatically boost the quality and impact of their customer loyalty programmes.

The Key2Key API has always been ‘open’ for integration with best-of-breed 3rd party system providers operating in the field of customer loyalty.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

But fresh technological developments around the industry are opening up new possibilities which Chrysalis say they are determined to enable as quickly and easily as possible.

Chrysalis founder, Jolyon Barker, said: “No matter how well designed and comprehensive, it is unrealistic to expect one system alone to best-of-breed in every aspect of the increasingly sophisticated processes used in automotive retail.

“That is why the right thing for us to do for our customers is to encourage the best 3rd party providers to integrate through our open API by being as accommodating and supportive as possible.”

As an example, Jolyon Barker points to a project under way in Europe in which an enterprise email marketing system is being integrated with the Key2Key platform to increase transparency for dealers and their brand’s captive finance arm around customer communications.

The integration will eradicate poorly timed or inappropriate communications by ensuring dealer, brand and finance provider effortless transparency as well as instant analysis of the effectiveness of their customer contact.

In a recent white paper detailing customer retention best practice Chrysalis Loyalty highlighted the importance of ‘joined up’ data and communication between dealers and their brands in generating the highest possible sales renewal rates – and proving the best customer experience.

Chrysalis believes that its users are best served by enabling integration of best of breed 3rd party systems to its market-leading customer retention tool.

For example, by integrating two-way data sharing between Key2Key, which highlights the optimal moments to contact a customer for renewal, and a sophisticated call tracking and conversation sentiment analysis tool, users get the benefits of both systems – and additional benefits from combining data to leverage powerful insights that can help transform their performance.

Jolyon Barker said: “Businesses like our own can choose between insisting on developing proprietary solutions to every improvement in their service, or they can do what’s right and work with the best to create maximum value for their customers.

“Because information sharing is so vital to profitable and efficient operations in automotive retail it is wrong to force users to develop their own workarounds when the integration of data between tools can make each one exponentially more valuable.

“Our latest integrations will start eradicating timed or pitched customer communications by creating unprecedented transparency and insight. Our customers will see results within a very short timeframe because we have encouraged the integration of a best-in-class tool through our API.”