LOS ANGELES - A new loyalty program at American Isuzu Motors Inc. will send one common message: The company wants to hang on to its customers, dealers, salespeople and service staffs.
A unified new program will give incentives to existing customers and pay cash to retailers and their staffs who meet performance objectives on sales and customer satisfaction. The company thinks better retention of people at the retail level will translate to better retention of customers.
Normally, automakers use different departments to handle incentives for customer loyalty, salespeople and service departments - sometimes with conflicting programs.
Isuzu is putting its various loyalty efforts under a single program to give it a more concerted focus and consistent message, said Bob Reilly, American Isuzu COO. Reilly said Isuzu wanted the program to be easy to follow for retailers who juggle different factory programs.
'We want to keep the details simple because 96 percent of our dealers are dualed. We wanted to start from scratch with this,' Reilly said.
The program works like this:
Customer loyalty: An 'Isuzu concierge' will make frequent contacts with new and existing owners to take care of minor problems before they mushroom. An owners' newsletter and owners-only Web site also are in the works, as are direct-mail campaigns and incentives for customers whose leases are expiring.
Dealer loyalty: Dealers will meet market-specific sales objectives. Their cash rewards can be doubled if they hit targets for both service and customer satisfaction.
Sales managers and salespeople: The sales and customer-satisfaction targets will have several levels, and longevity bonuses will be used to help retain employees.
Service managers, advisers and technicians: The factory will back up customer-satisfaction targets with cash bonuses.
The program will be coordinated by American Isuzu's sales and marketing department heads, Gary Tucker and Mark Darling, respectively.
Reilly acknowledged that the program elements are not revolutionary. But he said Isuzu has observed other automakers' loyalty programs and incorporated the ideas that work. Isuzu has dropped its former incentive program, called President's Cup.
'We have a lot of improvements to make,' Reilly said. 'But we've had dialogue with the dealer council, so there should be no surprises here.'