Peoria Nissan Puts Customer Acquisition in High Gear
CRM drives an Arizona car dealership to rev up its active prospects.
For the rest of the December 2004 issue of CRM magazine please click here
Launching a new dealership in the middle of a highly competitive auto strip is no easy task when you're a latecomer. Despite facing such additional challenges as starting with no customer contacts and needing to train a service staff of nearly 20 people on CRM, Keith Billings, fixed operations director of Peoria Nissan in Phoenix, managed to do exactly that. In June 2003 Peoria Nissan opened within a "dealer row" that comprises 10 other auto dealerships, including another Nissan dealership only 10 miles away, and one opening six months later 10 miles in the opposite direction. To increase business Billings turned to Autobytel's Retention Performance Marketing (RPM). RPM is a multichannel customer-relation system that integrates customer segmentation with personalized communications across multiple channels like email, telephone, Web sites, and print. After RPM takes into account customer demographics, buying habits, amount of money spent, and how often they visit, Autobytel helps target Peoria Nissan's marketing and customer communications. "It's all about being geared for multichannel marketing," said Fred van der Neut, vice president and general manager of RPM. The problem facing Billings was how to acquire this customer information with a contact base of zero. Billings had from Nissan a list of roughly 2,000 documented Nissan owners within his marketing area, and he also purchased a Polk list from iDriveonline. He then compared the two lists, crossed out the duplicates, and created a basic contact list RPM could target for marketing initiatives. Within months the database had 6,800 active names and 1,400 email addresses. The initial response rates to a monthly coupon mailing were notable, with Peoria Nissan getting 400 to 500 responses for every 10,000 coupons sent. Billings' other main challenge was training the four service advisors and 15 technicians on how to use RPM and its iDrive component. With the dealership under construction, Autobytel came in and showed Billings and his staff what RPM could do and how to use it. "Autobytel came in and worked around our schedule," Billings says. "Considering we didn't have our own offices, the entire training process went very well. They showed our people what iDrive was and how to access it, some of the common questions that customers have and how to answer [them], everything." To maintain the quality of the customer database, Billings and his team track the dealership's customers several ways. The staff can see which customers are accessing the site, and how many. Currently, Peoria Nissan has more than 700 customers in its database who regularly access its Web site. The dealership also uses multichannel communication every 90 days to remind customers that they should schedule their next service appointment. That contact is followed up with a phone call. RPM records the interaction, which allows Billings and his staff to see when each customer was contacted, what service they were due for, and when they responded, as well as see the response rate and the revenue generated per response. As a result Billings and his staff can analyze which marketing channels are delivering the best results. The Payoff As a result of using RPM, Peoria Nissan
  • had 6,800 active names and 1,400 email addresses added to its database within months of opening;
  • receives 400 to 500 responses for every 10,000 coupons sent out on a monthly basis;
  • gained a solid understanding of what marketing channels were getting responses.
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