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Give Your Customers a Red Carpet Experience

Automotive News recently reported about a New Jersey dealership that has a VIP lounge for some of its customers – akin to the exclusive airline club lounges – in which customers can wait for their vehicles in service. The lounge offers fresh fruit, cappuccinos and has high-definition big screen TVs. Customers need an access code to gain entry. Their service vehicles have their gas tanks topped off, their cars are hand-washed and their vehicles are returned to them complete with “handwritten thank you notes and Godiva cookies.” You might think this sounds like a scene that would take place in a Mercedes or Porsche dealership but it’s actually happening in a dealership of a brand you probably wouldn’t expect… Hyundai.

In fact Hyundai has implemented a program at the OEM level, with “Personal Service Amenities That Set Equus Apart.” The concierge service represents an entirely new kind of luxury. It includes features such as personal delivery of a vehicle for a private test drive, on your time and in complete privacy, so you can really enjoy a comfortable test drive experience without feeling pressured or rushed. And owners enjoy the ease of having the service center come to them, courtesy of “At Your Service” valet, where the dealership delivers a luxury loaner vehicle to the customer and picks up and returns their vehicle for scheduled maintenance. 

Burns Hyundai, in Marlton, N.J., recognizes that it’s got steep brand competition for its Genesis and Equus buyers from the likes of Mercedes and BMW. To help these high-end Hyundai buyers feel more comfortable with the brand, the dealership goes to extra lengths to make their customers feel special. In addition to the VIP service already described, the store has salespeople specifically designated for buyers of these models. The general manager handles the sale personally, customers are invited to experiences such as “complimentary wine tastings, strolling dinners or open-bar events at a nearby fine-dining restaurant,” reports Automotive News.

This is a good example of how a dealership can foster brand and dealership loyalty. These special touches transform the chore of taking a vehicle to be serviced into a pleasurable experience. While this dealership’s focus is on their high-end customers, this could easily be applied to reward any loyal customers. Customer retention is extremely important in growing business. Customers are inundated with loyalty programs from many retailers they patronize. Rather than offering loyal customers that free oil change, this could be a way to reward them in a more memorable and meaningful way.

 

By creating a unique experience for consumers, dealers have the opportunity to shine each and every time the customers come in. This experience leads to increased sales and service business through word-of-mouth. It is human nature for people to want to feel included and appreciated. Whether your customer is buying a $10,000 vehicle or a $100,000 vehicle, having this VIP area and treatment could offer customers a very compelling and unique selling proposition to return for regular maintenance.

 

Many dealerships could implement this type of VIP area and service with little, if any, remodeling. It will certainly cost the dealership a little time, some effort, and perhaps even some Godiva cookies. But, in the end, this minimal time and energy could very likely pay for itself many times over and both your customers and staff will feel the difference.

 

Views: 257

Tags: automotive, burns, dealership, hyundai, jersey, loyalty, new, news, service, value, More…vip

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Comment by Mark Frost on July 10, 2014 at 9:06am

Nate, will we be seeing one of these at LoLV soon? ;)

Definitely something more dealers need to be doing!

Comment by Cady Henglefelt on July 10, 2014 at 9:06am

Why not give all of your customers a VIP experience? A rewards program will keep them coming back and make them feel special. There are different ways to create loyal customers besides a cool lounge. Make your dealership completely different than others with a specialized program that they have never seen.

Comment by Chad Warnke on July 10, 2014 at 8:34am

  This concept is a double edged sword. This approach is not new. Everybody enjoys to be pampered and this can cause a slight uptick in retention. The time and energy and monies spent on this needs to be balanced with return. At what point do you draw the line that allows a person to enter or not enter? A rewards program is a good idea. There is always someone that is denied access and that person is going to be a lot louder than a person that is enjoying the treatment and spreading it word-of-mouth. In the end it can end up hurting more than helping. I hate to be a downer on a good idea because most would enjoy, but the squeaky wheel always gets the oil and there are many more of them out there, and if you don't draw that line and open it up to all then it can't be considered VIP. It is a casualty of todays society and that is the reality of a good idea like this 

Comment by Nate Wiener on July 10, 2014 at 8:33am

This should serve as a wake up call to all hi-line dealers out there, Lexus in particular. The rest of the herd has caught up. It's time to go abover and beyonder.

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on July 10, 2014 at 8:15am

why not offer specials, coupons and deals from local businesses in addition to your amenities. you will increase the goodwill with local businesses and be top of mind. take a look at this free service that does this for you. http://buttinseat.com.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 10, 2014 at 7:57am

I was provided with a new Equus from a Hyundai dealer friend of mine awhile back, which I had the good fortune of driving for a week. Wow... I was repeatedly impressed in a very positive way with how well refined, designed and equipped the car was. To say it exceeded my expectations would be an understatement. As for the service customer treatment that Richard describes in his article, that would truly be icing on the cake.

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