Business

Live up to your brand promise and keep customers for life | Kelly Maloney

It’s common to hear businesses say they want “customers for a lifetime.”

But what do those same businesses do to warrant such loyalty?

For Jet Chevrolet, currently Federal Way’s only new car dealership, it’s about integrity.

“We tell (our customers) we are always here for them: Free loaner cars, discounted service and repair work, same friendly and courteous employees,” said Dan Johnson, co-owner.

They don’t just tell them, they live up to it. Jet doesn’t do gimmicks, though they do advertise on radio, TV and in print occasionally. But their primary sales tool is to adhere to their brand promise — standing behind their word.

Companies that understand that a brand promise is the oftentimes unspoken, intangible promise of what their customers can expect from them — in the same way those same customers expect the sun to rise or the stars to come out at night — are light years ahead of other organizations that just don’t get it.

Taking it a step farther, those companies that not only get it, but also deliver on it, are bound to make an indelible impression on their customers. Sometimes these customers become so loyal, they act as unofficial brand ambassadors by blogging about their positive experiences, recommending the company, and yes, becoming lifelong customers.

At Jet Chevrolet, the brand promise is a part of the company culture. The auto dealer instills the essence of the brand promise into every employee so every customer interaction is as positive as possible. “We try and never say no. We do our best every time,” Dan said.

Jet Chevrolet is a family operation, owned and operated by Dan, his brother Jim, and their mother, Barbara Johnson. They’ve been selling new Chevys and all brands of used cars in Federal Way since 1981, when they bought the franchise from Dick Balch. They think of the company as a family, citing that they have employees who’ve been with them for more than 20 years.

They are proud of the service they provide and how they support the local high schools and community. But times are tough, so they are equally proud of receiving validation in the form of a “good” letter from General Motors, stating Jet Chevrolet has been identified by GM as one of its key dealers for the Chevrolet brand. “Unfortunately,” said Dan regretfully, “five or six other dealers in the area were not so lucky.”

“We've seen a lot of changes in Federal Way over the last 28 years. Lots of other dealers have come and gone, but we have survived because of our honesty and integrity. We always put the customer first. Over 70 percent of our monthly business is repeat or referred customers,” Dan said.

In light of the dubious financial position auto dealers across the country currently find themselves in, Jet Chevrolet has had its operations budget increase. But they are trying not to pass that on to the consumer.

“People don’t seem to shop in Federal Way, not sure why,” said Dan, bringing up an issue that has plagued businesses in the city for far longer than the recession. But they let consumers know they’re here by continuing to hone their message of honesty, integrity, longevity of business, great crew and employees, knowledgeable sales, service, and parts staff. That includes pleasant lot attendants and runners. “Everyone is empowered to take care of the customer,” he said.

Creating and adopting a corporate brand promise is frequently an overlooked necessity to providing a stellar brand experience for your customers. If your organization hasn’t already done so, take time to develop and ingrain your brand promise into your customer experiences to propel your organization toward being a genuine brand.

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