Sponsored by LTi Technology Solutions
Randy Haug: Customer retention is a matter
Randy Haug: Customer retention is a matter of reputation
Fuel and mileage overheads are part and parcel of every automotive operation. So much so that many dealers, OEMs and leasing companies rarely give them much thought.
The world of equipment finance and leasing is a small one, like a quaint town. It’s made of a constantly rotating group of people who are interconnected, and that’s why in this field, especially, customer retention is king. As a co-founder of LTi Technology Solutions, I’ve seen first-hand the value to keeping customers for more than 30 years. It’s a hallmark of our success, and it can be yours, too.
Customer retention doesn’t just increase the profitability of your business by cutting the sales and marketing efforts it takes to attract new clients. Building lasting customer relationships is a matter of reputation.
And to continue a longstanding relationship, it’s imperative to provide value-added service to your products. It’s about communicating regularly, rewarding loyalty, and understanding the specific needs of your customers so you can provide them with the best service—and create better products that meet their needs in the future.
For example, at LTi, we have had a large banking client for about 20 years. Over the years, they have purchased four systems through us as their needs have changed, and that’s because we have evolved our products as they’ve grown and continued a personal relationship with them, connecting them with people who can help their growth, too.
But as banks grow, they become targets for larger banks to acquire. Now, that bank brings along people and solution providers to the larger ecosystem and we can scale products for them. But maybe that bank already has an equipment finance business, and perhaps the original smaller financiers splinter off and create their own business again. While they’re building from the ground up, that relationship you forged with them before the acquisition is important.
So, how do we do this? LTi takes a collaborative approach and relies on account managers who are in contact before, during and after implementation to encourage client satisfaction. That in-depth knowledge of your customer helps you personalize products—and make better products in the future based on valuable feedback.
We also remain active in the marketplace with professional organizations like Finance & Leasing Association (FLA), National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB), and British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA). That allows us to keep track of trends and provide the best advice to our clients. It also keeps us in the know with the right people. In an industry like ours, networking—not hollow hand-shaking—but real conversations about best practices and personal connections is how we enhance what we offer. We can introduce people and innovate products.
With 33 years of experience creating value based on real solutions and knowledge of customers, I can say without a doubt that the culture of equipment finance is built on relationships.
It takes a large marketing and sales effort to reach a finite marketplace for us. Truly, word of mouth is the best marketer you have. Repeat customers are more likely to tell their contacts about your level of care and service. Remember, a customer recalling a bad experience will tell 10 people—and those 10 will tell another dozen. Customers respect the opinion of people close to them. And while they might only tell one or two people about a good experience, the cost of a bad interaction is large. And in a finite marketplace, your reputation is everything.
While we are a technology provider, our human interaction has always been the most important factor in maintaining business, and it is especially important in our “small town” industry.