For many dealerships, getting customers to return to your service lanes is easier said than done.
Those independent repair facilities have a tendency to steal customers, who often cite convenience and price as major selling points.
Fortunately for dealers, there are ways to better ensure customers will choose your service lane for upcoming maintenance or future repairs.
When customers drive off the lot in their new vehicle, dealerships often do a lot of work to prevent defection and ensure people will return for vehicle servicing. The service department is a major dealership profit center.
Often, the service relationship starts off strong, but as time goes on and warranties expire, customer loyalty dwindles.
Within the first two years of vehicle ownership, 45% of customers remain loyal to their dealership’s service department, according to a DMEAutomotive study.
After three to six years of ownership, only 31% return to the dealership for core services and after seven or more years, only 13% of customers return.
So what’s a dealership to do? Can your service department really compete with independently owned service centers?
Of course. It’s all about demonstrating to customers what advantages there are to using your dealership service lane.
Your service department has a lot going for it. Car dealers should demonstrate to customers they can’t get the same quality of service anywhere else. That includes:
•High-quality OEM parts. Customers can be sure that they’re getting parts that are made for their specific vehicle.
•Factory-certified technicians. Dealership mechanics have strong expertise in servicing specific vehicle makes and models. Customers can’t get this caliber of specialized talent at a local service facility.
•Unbeatable customer service. Your dealership represents a vehicle manufacturer, so you have to meet its high customer-service standards. Most independent shops aren’t held to this high standard.
•Top-notch facilities. Similarly, because dealerships are part of a larger network, the resources and facilities are far above smaller shops. Dealers have the latest and greatest tools, the most service bays and the cleanest facilities that are more inviting for customers.
•Ties to the local community. Customers can have confidence their vehicles are in the best of hands, because the people who are servicing them may very well be their neighbors.
Your customers may not want the hard sell, but rather a little reassurance they’re being heard and that you and your team can step in to assist when they need it.
Mark Pierret is the director-sales & marketing at Budco Financial, a company that assists dealers looking to enhance revenue outside of vehicle sales. Contact him at [email protected]