Vehicle Value Added Products and Services: The key to keeping customers engaged
The economic landscape continues to shift, in an unpredictable manner, forcing customers to be smarter with their money. “For the vehicle industry, the result is that clients are choosing to hang onto their cars for longer periods of time before they consider trading in for something new,” says Karin Kruger, Director of Operations at Innovation Group South Africa. “This poses a new challenge for dealers. How do they keep consumers hooked for the long run during a time where every bit of loyalty counts?”
Sales aftercare is of course important in keeping clients interested in a brand. But have you ever stopped to consider the crucial role value-added products and services (VAPS) play, particularly in creating and maintaining customer engagement for years to come – to the point of a new purchase sometime in the future?
What are value-added products and services?
To put it simply, VAPS are essentially the little extras a consumer adds on to their vehicle to keep it looking and feeling like it was just driven off the showroom floor – long after the fact. It can also give them some security in that they are covered in the event of an accident or other unexpected occurrences.
Some of these additions need to be purchased along with the car from day one. There are others, however, which can be added to an insurance policy or motor plan or as standalone products beyond the car’s date of purchase.
The usual suspects
You’re probably already familiar with a variety of VAPS, like the standard car maintenance plan for instance. It gives a client peace of mind in that if they purchase a vehicle, its upkeep – services, replacing of certain wear and tear parts, and more – is something they won’t have to worry about for a certain number of years (or kilometres). It also means they’ll visit the dealer regularly, which is a golden opportunity to engage with them further.
A customer also has other common VAPS to choose from, like an extended warranty plan to cover a vehicle’s parts for longer periods of time. These extras all play their part in improving the lifecycle of a vehicle, which is exactly what today’s cash-strapped consumer is after.
The reality is that no matter how well a client looks after their vehicle, there are unknown factors and forces out there that are beyond their control. Think about chip damage to a windscreen, for example. All it takes to inflict that damage is one stray stone. Then there’s the matter of scratches and dents, both of which can find their way onto a car with seemingly minimal effort, and stray potholes that can really damage tyres and rims – crucial components that aren’t exactly cheap to replace.
Thankfully, there are certain VAPS that are designed to protect a vehicle in the event that any of the above happens. Scratch and dent, tyre and rim guard, and other kinds of cover exists to address exactly these sorts of dilemmas. Seeing as the customer of today wants extra value wherever they can find it, and to safeguard their savings in the face of uncertainty, these additional products and services can go a long way in securing their engagement.
Cover all bases
With customers keeping their cars for longer, it’s more important than ever to keep them engaged for the long run. The above are just a few examples of VAPS that can do just that. There are others to keep in mind of course, like excess buy-back, roadside assistance, and more.
“Ultimately though, all VAPS are designed to provide additional value to the consumer, which is exactly what they desire in these unclear economic times,” concludes Kruger. “Ensure you offer the right value-added products and services, and you’re sure to keep a client engaged today, and well into the future.”
Karin Kruger, Operations Director: Innovation Group South Africa