DEARBORN — ChannelNet, a leader in business-to-consumer acquisition, retention and conquest services, is helping major global automakers and their captive finance units retain purchase and lease customers, with a suite of online tools and support to enhance the customer ownership and repurchase process.
A 2013 KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey reveals how moving the automotive captive financing industry online and towards a more customer-centric model is a key driver for future success.
Paula Tompkins, CEO and founder of ChannelNet, is a pacesetter with five of the 10 largest global automotive captive finance companies as her clients. BMW Financial Services recently renewed its eight-year relationship with the software-as-a-service provider. Hyundai, Volkswagen Credit, Audi Financial Services, Volvo, Mitsubishi Motors, Kia Finance, and Southeast Toyota’s Financial also are customers. ChannelNet expects a year-over-year sales increase of more than 40 percent in 2013, and plans to hire up to 12 new employees in the next 12 months.
“Our software platform, ChannelNet SiteBuilder, enables us to create a unique customer experience for every corporate client and at the same time automate the marketing and sales process,” Tompkins said. “Each finance company can exploit its own data to meet their specific business priorities. One of the most critical elements of why our solutions are so in demand is it gives sales and marketing the ability to follow the vehicle through the whole life cycle of ownership. In this way, different business goals can be achieved, such as call center volume reductions, lowering of direct marketing expenses, increased customer retention and incremental sales increase.”
The most significant goal for their auto finance customers according to ChannelNet, is to create a richer online experience that is personal and ensures greater satisfaction for owners plus increases repeat business. The company’s deep industry expertise combined with ChannelNet’s personal customer microsites mean companies typically realize at least a five percent increase in their customer retention rates, Tompkins noted.
“We know from our website tracking data that over 40 percent of the lenders’ customers use these microsites,” said Tompkins. After nearly 30 years of digital marketing experience, Tompkins knows firsthand that when you educate the consumer and help them realize what to expect, the consumer is left with a favorable impression of the brand and is more inclined to do business again with that auto finance company again.
Tompkins and other Industry experts agree lease customer loyalty percentage exceeds retail customer loyalty but a poor lease-end experience really hurts retention.
“One of the biggest customer ‘turn-offs’ is the bill people receive at the end of a lease to cover damage beyond normal wear and tear,” Tompkins said. “For example, most of our finance clients want to help their customers obtain what is called ‘the perfect maturity bill,’ the last invoice the lessee receives at the end of the lease. No one wants a big surprise or a negative phone call at the end of a lease. This discourages repeat business. With ChannelNet’s interactive and educational approach via the personal microsite, customer satisfaction is enhanced – and the benefits to the consumer and company are huge.”
ChannelNet is a leader and a pioneer in delivering customer acquisition, retention and conquest services via web-based systems that integrate a multi-channel sales environment. Using software-as-a-service, its experts connect automotive, financial services, home improvement and retail companies with their customers to sell products and services through local channels, including personalized microsites. ChannelNet’s patented software enables consumers to research a purchase, view sales incentives, and seamlessly complete transactions at a store, through a call center or on their mobile device. The privately held company, founded more than 25 years ago, is based in Dearborn, Michigan. It has a western U.S. office in Sausalito, Calif. For more information, visit www.channelnet.com.