More than a decade ago, most automakers realized they were losing quick-service customers to independent providers such as Jiffy Lube and Valvoline.
That triggered a worldwide rollout of dealer-branded quick lube/express service operations, but unfortunately, many dealers still are not maximizing market opportunities.
According to the National Automobile Dealers Assn., U.S. dealers are capturing only 23% of the oil-change market.
Customers continue to stay away because of inconvenience, perceived high prices and ineffective phone skills of dealership employees.
OEM quick lube/express service programs are designed to address all these issues, but for a dealership to increase its oil-change market share it needs to create awareness.
For starters, a dealer’s website should have a page dedicated to Quick Lube, and the sales department needs to let customers know quick lube is available when they sell them a car or truck.
The service department also should focus attention on quick lube during new-owner clinics, and dealerships need effective marketing plans to attract customers via mailers and other channels, including digital.
It also is a good idea to run the service as a stand-alone business with a dedicated manager and staff.
The main premise is to allow a customer to drive in without an appointment and get an oil change done within 45 minutes. A dedicated manager will ensure proper staffing levels, attentive customer service and, most importantly, increased revenue through upselling.
Many dealers are caught up with an idea that if they can change oil in 15 minutes or less they are doing a great job. However, the point isn’t to rush through the process, but to maximize revenue by upselling items such as air filters, wiper blades, light bulbs, belts and cabin filters.
To ensure the maximum upsell opportunity, a skilled technician should oversee the work of lower-skilled technicians who change the oil but lack the experience to diagnose potential problems.
Many dealers do not take full advantage of converting Quick Lube/Express Service customers into sales customers. There needs to be a process to identify high-mileage cars and offer customers to trade in their cars.
An effective quick-lube operation allows a dealership to boost customer satisfaction and retention, increase service revenues and pump up sales of new and used cars.
Steve Gefter is a managing director at IDDS Group, an automotive dealership consulting company.