Return business is gold for any retailer. For automotive dealers, it’s a diamond chariot. General Motors realizes this, which is why the automaker will be dishing out employee bonuses based upon owner loyalty. These customer loyalty rewards will apply to at GM North America salaried employees from engineers to field representatives.
Keep them coming back for more
GM North America president Mark Reuss has determined that a portion of the bonus pay for over 29,000 U.S. employees will be contingent upon return sales and after-sales service at dealerships. Reuss told the automotive press that this is the first time not only in his 26-year career, but likely the first time in General Motors’ history that employee bonuses have been paid out in this way.
“That is the ultimate result of why we’re doing all of this, right? People come back and buy our cars and trucks,” Reuss told Automotive News.
Customer loyalty is job one
Focus on the customer is the mantra Reuss wants all of GM North America to learn. Past barriers between divisions within the automaker meant that while one department could be hitting its goals, a lack of overall sales success forced a department further down the chain to absorb blame. With all pieces working toward establishing customer loyalty, Reuss believes that General Motors will be more on target.
“Everybody had their own metrics, which somehow were all green,” he said of the old General Motors. “But, weirdly, when we added it up, it was pretty red.”
It is not clear at this time exactly how much money General Motors will offer in employee bonuses based upon owner loyalty targets, but Reuss expects the incentive program to become a permanent part of the way GM does business with its employees and customers going forward.
Customer loyalty is transcendent
Last month, Reuss tasked GM customer experience czar Alicia Boler-Davis with a number of new vehicle-quality duties. Boler-Davis will have oversight of the quality of GM vehicles coming off the assembly line and customer satisfaction with dealership service. Reuss believes that these areas will contribute greatly to GM’s customer loyalty, so much so that GM brands have already adopted specific metrics. Chevrolet has a detailed checklist to inform its policies, and Cadillac dealers have received advanced training in providing customers with the most luxurious auto-buying experience possible.
Super sales force
In order to prepare General Motors’ North American sales force to meet new owner loyalty goals, Reuss expects that managers and reps will work closely with dealerships in order to ensure that GM will earn top marks in the automotive industry for customer service within two years. The effects have already been felt on the dealership level, said Duane Paddock, owner of Paddock Chevrolet near Buffalo, N.Y. Paddock asked GM field reps and managers to help him devise new customer loyalty initiatives, and a useful new call center was created.
“Five years ago, if I were to call my zone manager, all he’d try to do is sell me something I didn’t need,” said Paddock.