Holidays Are a Great Time to Build Loyalty

By Mike Gorun

It’s that time of year when giv­ing takes pri­or­i­ty over receiv­ing. Most deal­er­ships I know are extreme­ly gen­er­ous when it comes to char­i­ta­ble caus­es, but there’s no need to be hum­ble about it. The more you engage your cus­tomers in your hol­i­day gift dri­ves, the more you will be build­ing loy­al­ty with them.

In a recent sur­vey by the Amer­i­can Red Cross, most con­sumers say they plan to give to their favorite char­i­ties despite the slow econ­o­my. 79% of peo­ple say that they would rather have a dona­tion in their hon­or than to get a gift they wouldn’t use; and 70% plan to give as much as they did last year. Enabling cus­tomers to give con­tri­bu­tions through your store’s pro­gram is one way to bring cus­tomers in, start con­ver­sa­tions and cre­ate mutu­al good­will that can last well into 2013.

Here are a few ideas to build loy­al­ty and tie-in pro­mo­tions to your cur­rent loy­al­ty pro­gram around the hol­i­days:

  1. Send an e-mail cam­paign to your cur­rent cus­tomer base high­light­ing which caus­es you’re involved in and how they can donate. At the same time, pro­mote your loy­al­ty rewards pro­gram for 2013 by offer­ing to donate some­thing in their name if they become a mem­ber, or giv­ing them “free” points to join.
  2. Take advan­tage of end-of-the-year crowds by ramp­ing up sales efforts for pre-paid main­te­nance plans. What bet­ter gift can a per­son give than a year’s worth of peace of mind? Again, maybe you can tie an incen­tive such as a dona­tion to a char­i­ty of their choice when they sign up for a pre-paid main­te­nance pro­gram.
  3. Cre­ate a fun, loy­al­ty-build­ing cam­paign like the “Christ­mas Cook­ie” cook­book “that Howdy Hon­da pro­duced last year. Every per­son who sent in or post­ed a Christ­mas cook­ie recipe on Howdy Honda’s Face­book page received 10,000 bonus rewards points towards any ser­vice of their choice.

The hol­i­day sea­son can add a lot to a dealership’s bot­tom line; but there’s noth­ing wrong with lever­ag­ing a lit­tle good­will so you can build cus­tomer loy­al­ty and set your­self up for a great 2013 as well.

Mike Gorun is Man­ag­ing Part­ner and CEO of Per­for­mance Loy­al­ty Group, a divi­sion of Media Trac. Read the full arti­cle here.

 

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