How Lexus Nails Customer Relationships
Visiting the Lexus dealership for routine maintenance is like taking a vacation. Friendly baristas serve up gourmet cookies and lattes to customers surfing the web in a plush lounge surrounded by the latest 2014 Lexus models. The experience is so good, in fact, that my wife and I playfully argue about who gets to take the car in for an oil change. So how does this help them win the sales race? And what can it teach you about fostering your own customer relationships?
There is a place in town that offers freshly baked cookies and an entire menu of artisan coffee and pastries with comfortable seating and endless Wi-Fi…for free. That place is Lexus of Austin. Honestly, I look for any excuse to visit. And, when my car service will take longer than the time it takes to enjoy a muffin and mocha latte, they send me off in a loaner car that happens to be the latest upgrade to what I currently drive. The experience turns into one in which customers not only tolerate interacting with the sales/service teams, but we look forward it. We “get” to visit the dealership. We “get” to drive a loaner car.
The freshly baked cookies at Lexus are “sticky” in a very figurative way: They keep current customers coming back for more. In fact, 48% of Lexus owners will return to the dealership to buy another Lexus. Even though my current car is just fine, I can’t wait to purchase my next car with these folks. What I’m realizing is that the art of farming (keeping customers) is every bit as critical and strategic as hunting for new ones.
This reminded me of the Customer Relationships component of our Business Model Canvas. Nailing customer relationships is key for two reasons: To keep current customers buying and to turn these customers into brand evangelists who bring others into the fold.
Consider these statistics:
- The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5 to 20 percent.
- Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer. Source: Commonly attributed to Fred Reichheld at Bain & Co.
- Poor service quality is the number one force “pushing” customers into the arms of waiting competitors. Source: Accenture 2009 Global Consumer Satisfaction Report
- Nearly 80 percent of customers rely upon word of mouth for information about service providers. Source: Accenture 2012 Customer Global Consumer Pulse Research Key Findings
Now, consider this: How much do you invest in things like product development at the expense of serving the people who are already devoted to you? There’s a reason customer relationships and channels feed equally into your customer segments in the Business Model Canvas. Both are equally important. Are you hunting more than you’re farming? And is that working in your favor?
Let’s return to the dealership landscape as an example of how this is playing out in a specific industry. Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates, recently noted, “Manufacturers have made large investments in their retail programs, and dealers have made significant investments in key customer touch-points—people, improved processes and customer waiting areas—which are having a profoundly positive impact on their customers.” In other words, they are investing in customer relationships.
According to J.D. Power and Associates’ most recent findings, Lexus ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service among luxury brands for a fifth consecutive year. I’m living proof this attention to service creates loyal fans. I can’t wait to grab another latte with my friends at Lexus.
The question is: What are you serving up to keep your customers excited for more?
Find out how implementing a strategic product design can keep your customers excited for more.