Auto sales finally are moving back toward pre-recession levels. With 14.8 million new units sold at the end of 2012 and another 40.5 million used vehicles changing hands, credit unions can and should take advantage of this expanding market to ensure that current members return to their credit union for their next auto loan.
Interestingly, credit union members indicated in a recent nationwide survey that factors such as good customer service, ease of contacting the credit union and credit union responsiveness are more significant in driving auto loan loyalty than interest rates and down payment requirements. The independent survey was conducted by Filene Research Institute and supported by a grant from Enterprise Car Sales.
This is consistent with the findings of a new book by marketing and customer service expert, Kirk Kazanjian, entitled, Driving Loyalty: Turning Every Customer and Employee Into a Raving Fan for Your Brand. As Kazanjian writes, building a successful company today means creating “an unbreakable bond of loyalty between your customers and employees.” Ten of the author’s recommended steps include the following:
- Meet an overlooked customer need
- Serve a specific and uncrowded niche
- Be willing to take risks
- Position yourself as an expert in your industry
- Dedicate yourself to delivering excellent customer service
- Find ways to reinvent existing operating models
- Offer something your competitors don’t
- Be humble and authentic, in order to truly connect with your customers and employees
- Always be on the lookout for potential opportunities
- Never rest on your laurels
Credit unions, like the companies profiled in Kazanjian’s book, including JetBlue, Starbucks, Costco and Chobani Yogurt, as well as Enterprise, can also drive customer loyalty by adhering to these principles. In fact, the Filene Research Institute concluded that prompt problem resolution, being able to contact someone immediately and hours of operation were more than twice as important to CU members than whether employees know individual members.