LOS ANGELES – James Reutersham tells of a Google colleague who last year was on the email-address list of both presidential candidates.

A breakdown of the email subject matter from the respective candidates showed this: Most communications from the Donald Trump candidacy asked recipients to turn out to campaign events. Most emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign asked for money.

Reutersham sees a message there for dealers relating to their digital communications with customers.

“When customers hear from you, are you always asking for money or are you giving them something cool?” he says during a presentation entitled “Digital Customer Care and Loyalty Strategies,” at the 2017 Customer Experience Summit here.

The cool stuff might include sweetening a deal for a loyal customer by perhaps extending the mileage limit for a leased car, says Reutersham, strategy development manager at Google, where he started working in 2012.

His resume includes once working as a federal government risk analyst and as a staffer at an Apple store, where he says he saw and did things dealers could emulate.

“As a new hire at Apple, I was expecting two days of job training, but instead got two days of customer-service training,” he says.

If a customer comes in with a product on the blink, Apple will fix it, “but they care more about repairing the relationship,” he says.

His advice to dealers: “Lean into loyalty from a sales and profit point of view. For Apple, the sale is not the end of a relationship, but the beginning. Its approach is to not always have its hand out when interacting with customers.”

Other dealer advice from Reutersham:

  • Teach customers how to get the most out of their cars. Instructional videos can help that cause.
  • Anticipate car owners’ questions, and be the first to answer them. Ways to do that include deep-link apps that bring users directly to a specific answer rather than to a homepage.
  • Use customer data to solve business challenges.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com